Slylvia Plath gets a lot of abuse. I don’t quite understand it. The sheer amount of people who seem to hate her is surprising and somewhat random. But what bothers me, in particular, is that so many people hate her for the wrong reasons. Some people hate her because of her suicide, and the fact that her poems aren’t exactly uplifting. But is that a valid reason to dislike a poet? I don’t think so. So what do you think? Is Sylvia Plath a hit or miss, and why?
I personally think that she’s one hell of a hit. I’ve only read a few of her poems for my Leaving Cert course in school, but I fell in love instantly. Poppies in July was one of my favourites. What’s so wonderful, and also ominous about her poetry, is that it’s very intrusive. It feels like her poetry goes beyond the realms of the outer self and into the inner self. I always feel like my personal space is being questioned when I read her poetry. And I believe that’s what makes it just so appealing. It’s rare to encounter a poet that can make you feel that, and make you see that.
I believe Child was her masterpiece by a long shot. I won’t post it here for copyright reasons, but if you google it you should get it. I think it’s the most startlingly beautiful and heartwrenching piece of writing I’ve ever read. The imagery she uses to describe her child is poignant and so bright, but the last stanza is ridden with pain and suffering:”Not this troublous wringing of hands/This dark ceiling without a star.”What makes this poem so important in the work of Plath is that her tragic suicide occurred a mere two weeks later.
So if you haven’t read Sylvia Path, go on, you won’t regret it. And if you don’t like her, why not? Do tell us your opinions in the comments below.