Deprecated: Function set_magic_quotes_runtime() is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/index.php on line 38

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/safehtml.php on line 608

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 161

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 163

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 164

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 165

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 167

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 168

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 169

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 244

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 251

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 260

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 267

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 274

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 281

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 289

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 486

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 488

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/lib/safehtml/HTMLSax3.php on line 490

Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/core.php on line 281

Deprecated: Function ereg_replace() is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/core.php on line 179

Deprecated: Function ereg_replace() is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/core.php on line 180

Deprecated: Function ereg_replace() is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/code/articlems.php(102) : eval()'d code on line 3

Deprecated: Function ereg_replace() is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/code/articlems.php(102) : eval()'d code on line 4

Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/core.php on line 1433

Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in /home/writers/public_html/poems/core.php on line 1433
Poet Sylvia Plath Biography, Poems & Quotes

Classic Poetry

 »  You're Here: Classics Home » Poet » Sylvia-plath-25

Biography of Sylvia Plath 
  


              
Sylvia Plath (1932 - 1963) was born in Boston. Her father was a professor of biology at Boston University, and had specialized in bees. He has been characterized as authoritarian and died of diabetes in 1940 when Plath was eight years old. Her mother, Aurelia, worked at two jobs to support Sylvia and her brother Warren, but in her diary Plath reveals her hatred for her mother. At school Plath appeared to be a model student: she won prizes and scholarships. She studied at Gamaliel Bradford Senior High School (now Wellesley High School) and at the Smith College from 1950 to 1955. In LETTERS HOME (1975), edited by Plath's mother, she revealed a portrait of a young woman driven by hopes for the highest success alternating with moods of deep depression.

Her first awarded story, "Sunday at the Mintons," was published in 1952 while she was at college in magazine Mademoiselle. Plath worked in 1953 on the college editorial board at the same magazine and suffered a mental breakdown which led to a suicide attempt. She described this period of her live in THE BELL JAR, her autobiographical novel, which was published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas in 1963, a month before her death. The novel takes place in New York at the height of the Cold War, during the hot summer in which the Rosenbergs were sent to the electric chair, convicted of spying for the Soviets. Against this background Plath sets the story of the breakdown and near-death of her heroine. The book is considered a powerful exploration of the restricted role of women. With J.D. Salinger's The Cather in the Rye it is recognized as a classic of adolescent angst.

After winning a Fulbright scholarship, Plath attended Newnham College, Cambridge (England). She met there in 1956 the poet Ted Hughes, "... big, dark, hunky boy, the only one there huge enough for me,'' whom she married next year. Hughes's first impression was "American legs / Simply went on up. That flaring hand, / Those long, balletic, monkey- / elegant fingers. / And the face -- a tight ball of joy." They first met at a student party, where she bit Hughes on the cheek, really hard. It set the tone to their tumultuous relationship. Plath decided to be a good wife, but Hughes was not the ideal husband she imagined: he was moody, penchant for nosepicking, and dressed slovenly. Also Plath's suspicions of Hughes's infidelity burdened her.

Plath's early poetry was based on then current styles of refined and ironic verse. Under the influence of her husband and the work of Dylan Thomas and Gerald Manley Hopkins, she developed with great force her talents. In 1957 Plath returned to the U.S., where she worked as a teacher of literature at the Smith College. From 1958 to 1959 she worked as a clerk in Boston and studied poetry at Robert Lowell's course. Plath moved again to England in 1959. Her first child, Frieda Rebecca, was born in 1960 and second, Nicholas Farrar, in 1962. Next year appeared her well-known poems, the aggressive 'Lady Lazarus' and the notorious 'Daddy', in which Plath expanded the boundaries intimate expression.

When Ted Hughes abandoned her for an another woman, Assia Gutmann Wevill, the wife of the Canadian poet David Wevill, fantasies of self-destruction took over of Plath's resolution. Wevill was German-born, sophisticated woman, with film-star looks. Near the end of her life, Plath burned hundreds of pages of a work in progress. In one of her final poems she wrote: ''Dying / is an art, like everything else. / I do it exceptionally well.'' (from 'Lady Lazarus') In a letter to her mother Plath complained that Hughes had left her in poverty, but according to Elaine Feinstein, whose well-balanced on Hughes appeared in 2001, he gave her all their joint savings.

Plath died in London on February 11, 1963; she committed suicide. Her gravestone is in Yorkshire. Hughes's name was chipped off her tombstone, and his poetry readings were disrupted by shouts of "murderer." Tragically, Assia Wevill killed herself in the same way as Plath - by gas. She also killed their daughter, Shura. During her career as writer Plath was loosely linked to the confessional poets, a term used to describe among others Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton (1928-74, committed suicide), and John Berryman. Her literary reputation rests mainly on her carefully crafted pieces of poetry, particularly the verse that she composed in the months leading up to her death. Plath has been considered a deeply honest writer, whose ceaseless self-scrutiny has given an unique point of view to psychological disorder and to the theme of the feminist-martyr in a patriarchal society. In this discourse, Ted Hughes has become the villain, whom Robin Morgan accused in 1972 in a poem of killing Plath. "I accuse / Ted Hughes," she wrote in 'The Arraignment'. However, Janet Malcolm has defended Hughes in her book The Silent Woman (1994), in which she sees Plath's literary spouse a Prometheus figure who has to "watch his young self being picked over by biographers, scholars, critics, article writers and newspaper journalists."

Biography source: http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/splath.htm


Poems By Sylvia Plath
15: You're
16: Edge
17: Child
18: Words



Quotes By Sylvia Plath
"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."

"Apparently, the most difficult feat for a Cambridge male is to accept a woman not merely as feeling, not merely as thinking, but as managing a complex, vital interweaving of both."

"Dying is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call."

"How frail the human heart must be - a mirrored pool of thought."

"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again."

"I talk to God but the sky is empty."

"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am."

"If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell. I'll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days."

"Is there no way out of the mind?"

"The blood jet is poetry and there is no stopping it."

"There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them."

"Widow. The word consumes itself."