Posts Tagged ‘#plathtag’


Sunday, March 31st, 2013


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So far, we have 12 of you (including myself) interested in reading. Regardless of what you decide to read for Thursday Poems, please make sure you do not go above 2:30. It will not be fair to the rest of the participants. If you have any questions, please let me know or post ’em onto the Google doc!

Thank you


I’m a line! I’ll do WHATEVER I wanna do!!

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Lines do what they want to do?

  • Focus of process and form
  • Not on depth
  • Form grows out of the content

Do you agree or disagree?

Emerson’s work often requires that we trace etymologies?

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Do you think it’s necessary in bettering or understanding of the poetry itself? (not only with her work) but with poets in general?

Experiments=lack of flow?

Monday, March 25th, 2013

When you experiment with the form of a poem does it disrupt your intended flow?

1962 Interview with Sylvia Plath

Monday, March 25th, 2013

I’m reading The Bell Jar by Plath in another class right now and my professor let us listen to a few minutes of this interview today in class. I thought I’d share it with you, it’s really interesting to hear her talk about her poetry and influences. The interviewer also asks Plath about her incorporation of Holocaust imagery, something we drew a lot attention to in class discussion. It’s a fascinating interview, check it out!

sylvia plath reads Daddy

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Q: What do Babies, Fungus, Oppressed Women & The Cold War have in common?

Monday, March 25th, 2013

A: Sylvia Plath’s 1959 Poem “Mushrooms” has been speculated to be written about each.

When I first read this poem (on page 139 of our Collected), I was struck by how simple, hopeful and almost childlike it was (at least in comparison to the other works we had assigned last week). Of course, my initial reading was a literal one,  encouraged by the objectist voice Plath uses. For 11 stanzas, she speaks from the mushroom’s perspective…

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.

Consider some of the following interpretations as you reread. What’s your take?

  • Women seen as purely domestic objects by men:  ‘We are shelves, we are Tables..”
  • “Overnight very whitely, discreetly, very quietly”: is this a description of conception?
  • Similar description of birth: “Perfectly voiceless, Widen the crannies, Shoulder through holes”
  • “Diet on Water, On crumbs of shadow, bland-mannered, asking little or nothing. So many of us! So many of us”: description of lower class struggle, buttressed by last line “our foot’s in the door.”

Who’s foot? WHO’S FOOT?!

Because nobody interpretively performed “Daddy”

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

So let’s hear it from Sylvia.


In Response to and in connection with, “Let’s talk about “Lesbos,” baby…”

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

I have been waiting for someone too bring up, “Lesbos.”  I’ll give you my interpretation of this poem.

Viciousness  in the Kitchen!: beware of excited punctuation in poetry it may not be anger all the time but with “Viciousness” it can not be pleasant…Hiss:snake/serpent…Hollywood, windowless: symbolic meaning of the flower holly is a “stubborn victory won”,no windows, no good, Hollywood is facade…The flourescent light wincing on and off like a terrible migraine: no windows, light wincing, migraines suck, no bueno…And I, love, ama pathological liar: lowercase “L” in “love”, lying is bad…Her face red and white, a panic: the color red connoting negativity here and white innocence, panic…The bastard’s a girl: fatherless, two female parents…You say i should drown the kittens. Their smell!/You say I should drown my girl./She’ll cut her throat at ten if she’s mad at two: kittens so innocent, drown them? double meaning of “drown”Drown an innocent girl?cut her throat at the age of ten if she is mad at the age of two, no hope?…I should sit on a rock off Cornwall and comb my hair./I should wear tiger pants, I should have an affair: repetition of “should” tells me she is getting bad advice from the lesbian that wear the pants in the relationship…Meanwhile there’s a stink of fat and baby crap: You think the innocent smell of kittens is too much?, leaving the domestic chores unattended smells much worse, “fat” connotes idleness, and laziness… The sun gives you ulcers, the wind gives you T.B./Once you were beautiful./In New York, in Hollywood: How can nature hurt someone? followed by acted, we have learned of the dangers of Hollywood, botox for facade fame, Country Vs. City…The impotent husband slumps out for a coffee./I try to keep him in,/An old pole for the lightning: Holly was thought to defend from lightning. following the entrance of the husband in the second stanza i do believe she refers to him for the rest of the poem. however, I say I may be back./You know what lies are for.: it could be her talking or him, i think its the husband that left the women because of the last line…Even in your Zen heaven (reincarnation) we shan’t meet.: second time because of the lesbo bad influence in the first stanza saying to the speaker, “I should have an affair./ We should meet in another life.

Let’s talk about “Lesbos,” baby…

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

“Viciousness in the kitchen!
The potatoes hiss.”

Some thoughts:

  • Disembodied feeling! From the first line, we as readers are forced to look around for a body to which we can ascribe the emotion. Instead, we get the setting of a traditional (idyllic) domestic space… completely turned on its head. We feel sensory overload (horrifying harsh fluorescents, migraines) coupled with a child face down on the floor. We get a tone of anxiety and panic resulting in urgently distorted imagery.
  • Having trouble figuring out what exactly is going down in this poem? Me too! Obviously a narrative decision by Plath, she toys with readers’ perceptions of the speaker, and the speaker’s perceptions of her environment, all through a lens of emotional rage.
  • Sound! “Where they crap and puke and cry and she can’t hear.” Hard “c” and “k” sounds make this line grate. We also get a lot of “ss,” evocative of acid, simultaneously dissolving and burning.
  • Matricide! “You say I should drown my girl.” obliterating any remains of a domestic maternal bliss.
  • The relationship between the two women, “venomous opposites.”  Ironically juxtaposed with the poem’s title. The speaker obviously feels no inclusive female bond: “‘Every woman’s a whore./ I can’t communicate.” The speaker veils her rage against the woman with an attempt at pleasantries at the end of her visit. “I say I may be back/ You know what lies are for.” The internalization of her feelings of betrayal/irreconcilability with the woman perpetuates her anger.
  • Sexuality: Sex as performance (“You acted, acted, acted for the thrill.”) versus procreation.
  • The moon: I read an article that states that for Plath, the moon represents sickness/normality, death/life, and wich/protector; in this stanza, it serves to unite the women in its light while they revel in their sexual frustration (“Working it like dough, a mulatto body). I’m not convinced of the argument, but it’s something? Plath clearly draws menstrual/fertility associations with the moon: Instead of gently beaming onto a landscape, this moon “dragged its blood bag, sick/ animal” and eventually scares the speaker “to death.”

Source: “Sylvia Plath’s Narrative Strategies” by Margaret Dickie (The Iowa Review, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Spring, 1982), pp. 1-14)

Also, just in case you HAVEN’T thought about getting a Sylvia Plath tattoo… (brace yourself for Lady Lazarus…)