SYLVIA PLATH : A GREAT TALENT THAT LEFT US TOO SOON.
Sylvia Plath was one of the greatest women writers who impressed me so much that I also wanted to be a writer like her. When I read about her biography, I was really moved to tears. Let’s take a look at her career as a poet, novelist, and a short story writer.
Sylvia Plath was one of the great American women writers who inspired other women to consider writing as a profession. She was born on October 27, 1932, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. She has been credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and is best known for two of her published collections, The Colossus and Other Poems (1960) and Ariel (1965), as well as The Bell Jar, a semi-autobiographical novel published shortly before her death in 1963. In 1981, ‘The collected poems’ featuring her unpublished work was published and she got the Pulitzer Prize for it posthumously in 1982. She also wrote under the pseudonym of Victoria Lucas. She completed her graduation from Smith College in Massachusetts and at Newnham College, Cambridge, England. She married fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956. They lived for sometime in the United States and then in England. They had two children.They got separated in 1962 after Plath alleged abuse at his hands. She went into depression and underwent with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Unfortunately, it wasn’t effective as Sylvia Plath ended her life on February 11, 1963 (aged 30) at London, England. She was the recipient of:
Fulbright Scholarship Glascock Prize1955
Two Lovers and a Beachcomber by the Real Sea
Pulitzer Prize for Poetry1982 The Collected Poems(posthumously)
Her famous work:
The Colossus and Other Poems (1960)
The Bell Jar ( Semi-autobiographical novel) in UK (1963) and the US (1971) (posthumously)
Ariel ( Collection of poems) 1965.
Her mother, Aurelia Plath, published her letters in 1975. Another collection of poems in Winter Trees and Crossing the Water were published in the UK in 1971. It’s tragic that a great talent like Sylvia Plath’s life was cut short because of her suicidal tendencies and depression. She will always be remembered and continue living in the hearts of the ardent admirers of her work.
Let’s read one of her poems. ( Courtesy: Poets.org)
You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.
Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time—
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal
And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend
Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.
It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene
An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.
The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.
I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You—
Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.
You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who
Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.
But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look
And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I’m finally through.
The black telephone’s off at the root,
The voices just can’t worm through.
If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two—
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.
There’s a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.
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