Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sylvia Plath

On this day 81 years ago, Sylvia Plath was born in Boston; she would go on to become, as Joyce Carol Oates put it, "one of the most celebrated and controversial of postwar poets writing in English." It's a pity, therefore, that when people remember Plath they first think of her suicide and not her poems, which trap her anguish and imagination in strict-tempoed lines, unveiling them to each new reader.

Plath's poems have taught me to rhyme deftly and repeat with subtlety; among her poems, Daddy, Lady Lazarus, A Mad Girl's Love Song, A Life, April Aubade remain as some of my favourites. Her poems carry a feminine grace yet maintain the temperament of a woman who, as Ted Hughes declared, "saw her world in the flame of the ultimate substance and the ultimate depth."

May her poems be ever-treasured and read.

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