Skip to main content

AfterPlath

Apparently, according to a new book, Sylvia Plath, whose morbid anniversary is tomorrow (50 years since her cold Winter London flat suicide), was mentally disturbed from the age of 8 when her father died, and "dated" hundreds of men, sleeping with as many as five or six the same week, during her pre-Hughes time at Vassar in the 1950s; she also "self-harmed" and displayed rages of envy and perfectionism.  There is sexism in the fuss about this - many male poets - including her future husband - have been, or are, sexually voracious; and many poets teeter on the edge of mania, despair, or some unsteady cocktail of ambition, drive, and foreboding loss.

Plath On The Beach
One is hardly likely to forge an entirely new style of poetic utterance otherwise.  Plath, the evergreen poster girl for the madness-genius thin line, continues to sell papers, and books.  She is the flip side of Marilyn Monroe - the sexy, smart suicide herself - indeed, became as iconic as her, or James Dean - other infamous outsiders made world famous by destructive youth-meets-beauty-meets talent smash ups.  Is it merely gratuitous to know she dated wildly, perhaps a nymphomaniac, to use that quaint judgemental slur?  Or that she was perhaps Borderline?  It perhaps clears Hughes of being the main cause of her demise - the latest evidence suggests, as one friend recalls, she was a "time bomb".  Okay, so she was a bombshell, a time bomb, and a genius.  Quite a package.  Someone should stop selling it, and leave the poems to their own power, and the poet to rest in peace, which apparently, she never found topside.

One note, though: Plath's influence has not gone away, which is striking.  She continues to empower young men and women (and sometimes even me), to express powerful feelings, and to do so artfully, or, if artlessly, then originally.  She is, arguably, the woman poet closest to the myth of Rimbaud, or Byron - doomed, young, unique, erotic - and as such, foundational.  One of the greats of the last century, then, despite and because of her strange desires, delusions, and demands.  Pop stars and actresses can pretend to be her, but you can't outdo Plath - you can merely build on her work, likely in combination with other styles and influences.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!