Studio 360 did a segment on Sylvia Plath this morning. Click through the image below to listen.
Exactly. Plath’s poetry is an invitation to voyeurism, performer to audience. “See how painful my life is, see how I try and fail to absent myself from it time and again in every grisly little detail, and because I am such an amazing writer see how I can drag you through my own blood with me.” I couldn’t get enough of Plath’s poetry when I was younger. I’m older and a little smarter now. I wonder, now, how much of her life was performative, all those screaming fights with Hughes, all those suicide attempts made for the later harvesting of image in tercet. Did she think “How will this arrange itself on the page?” as she almost scientifically plans the cutting of her own wrist?
If I could get around my admiration for her craft, I wonder if I’d ever read another Plath poem. I no longer have any patience with self-loathing, and self-loathing put on public display is just annoying. I see your Sylvia Plath and raise you one Travis McGee:
Remorse is the ultimate in self-abuse.”–John D. MacDonald
So just GTFOWI.
And if you must, and you might if only for the craft: