Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Speaking of Baking

... reminds me of Sylvia Plath, who often baked up a storm for two reasons: to conquer writers' block and to avoid writing.

I first read her poems in Year 12 and couldn't get enough. There's something about those adolescent stretches of time that makes you an emotional conductor. I remember feeling so much, all the time. Wasn't always fun, but we've all been there. Over the years I've returned to her poetry/journals/fiction a lot. Now I've got just about every book on or about Sylvia Plath and late husband, Ted Hughes (another remarkable poet). I just find them endlessly interesting.

Today I'm taking myself off to see Edge - a one woman play about Plath starring Angelica Torn at the Athenaeum in town. It's based on the last poem she wrote and the play (written by one of her biographers, Paul Alexander) focuses on the last day of her life.

A sad end to a brilliant life. She was only 30 years old when she died and suddenly she bacame fixed, like a rare butterfly - pinned. She's now more mythology than any real memory. I know she has a reputation for being a bit of a downer...but I think a lot of her poems crackle with life and intensity.

The woman is perfected
Her dead

Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity

Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare

Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little

Pitcher of milk, now empty
She has folded

Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden

Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.

The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.

She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.

-Sylvia Plath


lisa said...

i went through a sylvia plath phase. mine was during year 28...a little later than yours. thank you for sharing this.

jackie said...

I use to love her poetry when I was in year 12 too. I did see the movie. I felt very sad for her children.

Gina said...

I am with you.

gracia said...

Ooh, I so love that photo... wonderful!

Some Books I've Really Enjoyed

  • Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan
  • Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life by Andrew Motion
  • The Bell Jar by Syliva Plath
  • Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
  • Stasiland by Anna Funder

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Living, reading, crafting, taking photos, writing.