It’s been 50 years since Plath was writing poems

"The Colossus" by Sylvia PlathYesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the death of American poet Sylvia Plath.

She famously asphyxiated herself by sticking her head in a gas oven while her two small children slept in another room. She more famously wrote some truly incredible, intense and, at turns, disturbing poems.

Plath published only one book of poems in her short lifetime, a collection called “The Colossus“ that NPR book reviewer Craig Morgan Teicher called “taut yet unfocused.”

Speaking as a relatively new poet myself, I can say that it seems utterly impossible to publish only one book and gain the notoriety Plath has gained. But she is deserving of that notoriety, as evidenced by the books she published posthumously. She found her focus in the darker aspects of human relationships, particularly her own tumultuous marriage to British poet Ted Hughes, and her struggles with mental health.

Here are two well-known and most excellent poems by Plath, “Lady Lazarus” and “Daddy.”

Since Plath is a historical figure as well, consider following the February Poem of the Month contest prompt and write a poem about her, or another favorite poet, and to submit by Feb. 28!

About Stacia M. Fleegal

York Daily Record multiplatform journalist. Degrees in creative writing from Lycoming College and Spalding University, and a coupla books with my name on them. Central PA native who came home after floating around for a while, but always grounded by words and the places and people I remember.
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