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Sylvia Plath and the Evolution of Confessional Poetry

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Dorothea Miller

on 1 April 2014

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Transcript of Sylvia Plath and the Evolution of Confessional Poetry

Sylvia
essentially the inventor of the genre
her poetry gravitates around one central subject: herself
exposes her suicidal desires, unstable emotional state, and other aspects of her personal vulnerability
committed suicide at an early age
Sylvia Plath
Esther
protagonist of Plath's most famous work, a novel called
The Bell Jar
mirrors the author's own progression through life: college education, troubles with men, institutionalized, suicide attempts
she is successfully cured by electroshock therapy, while Plath eventually committed suicide
Esther Greenwood
Plath read a lot of him when she was in college
his most famous work,
The Great Gatsby
, is semi-autobiographical
she scrawled insights in the margins of his works which evolved into her later poetry
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Anne
another pioneer of the confessional poetry genre
her poems deal with the issues of suicide and toxic personal relationships
lines of "Wanting to Die" echo those of "Lady Lazarus" in their comparison of suicidal methods to an art form
Anne Sexton
Sylvia Plath and the Evolution of Confessional Poetry
From Written Verse to Social Media
Cordelia
current student at Albany High School
her writings on a popular blogging site deal with myriad issues in her personal life
she writes in erratic poetry or else paragraphs with a poetic bent, recalling Plath's style
her format is usually in profiling people who have touched her life, glorifying personal relationships
one in particular is entirely on the subject of her father, and how her relationship with him has affected all subsequent relationships
commonality between this post and Plath's "Daddy", an ode to her father who committed suicide when she was 8
Cordelia Driussi
Blogging
invention that has developed from to an incentive to publish innermost feelings to the Internet with little to no repercussions
people are comfortable with exposing personal information to those who may judge them
e-publishing is on the rise; anyone with a computer can be a famous author
it took the encouragement of authors such as Sylvia Plath for people to realize that the truest subject they can write about is themselves
blogging will provide history with an expansive store of information on not just the deeds, but the thoughts and feelings of this generation
there is a destruction of privacy in the publishing of personal information for the criticism of others
Frieda Hughes wrote a poem describing her outrage at how others have interpreted her mother's poetry; however she cannot expect the general populace not to live (or die) vicariously through her mother's work
Notes
Daddy
Not God but a swastika/So black no sky could squeak through./Every woman adores a Fascist.

So I could never tell where you/Put your foot, your root,/I could never talk to you/The tongue stuck in my jaw.

But no less a devil for that, no not/Any less the black man who/
Bit my pretty red heart in two

I made a model of you,/A man in black with a Meinkampf look/
And a love for the rack and the screw./And I said I do, I do

Lady Lazarus
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.

So, so, Herr Doktor./So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,/I am your valuable,

Herr God, Herr Lucifer/Beware/Beware.

And I eat men like air.

The Rival
If the moon smiled, she would resemble you./You leave the same impression/Of something beautiful, but annihilating.
Purdah
I am his./ Even in his/ Absence, I/Revolve in my sheath of impossibles,

Stings
They thought death was worth it, but I/Have a self to recover, a queen./Is she dead, is she sleeping?

Now she is flying/More terrible than she ever was, red/Scar in the sky, red comet/Over the engine that killed her---/The mausoleum, the wax house.
Plath's Scrawlings in
Gatsby
Wanting to Die
But suicides have a special language./Like carpenters they want to know which tools./They never ask why build.

Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,/raging at the fruit a pumped-up moon,/leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,
leaving the page of the book carelessly open,/something unsaid, the phone off the hook/and the love whatever it was, an infection.

Whitman Echoes
Calamus 27
O LOVE!/O dying—always dying!/O the burials of me, past and present!/O me, while I stride ahead, material, visible, imperious as ever!
Calamus 27
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