on Plath

I made it my mission to analyze all of Sylvia Plath’s poetry. So far, I’ve read her collections “Ariel” and “The Colossus.” As a whole, her poems had melancholy tones, including “Morning Star,” which was written for her daughter, Frieda. Her stanzas were relatively short and her poems rarely exceeded three pages. Plath tended to personify nature in her writing. “Whoever heard a sunset yowl like that,” “let the stars Plummet to their dark address” (Magi), “the moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary,” (Purdah), and  “by day, only the topsoil heaves” (The Colossus) are all great examples of this technique. 

Furthermore, I noticed that she used the following words/phrases in more than one poem:

  • Bald
  • Eye—
  • Hooks
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Nike
  • Lozenges
  • Caked
  • Adam (Eve)
  • “At my feet”
  • Veil
  • Sheets
  • Cheesecloth

Looking at these words on the same list is puzzling. They do not seem to connect to each other in any way. And yet, they each find a place in her work. I was especially fascinated by “cheesecloth,” and figured it was a more common item in her life than in mine. Although we were both American women alive at relatively the same time, our vocabulary still differed from one another. I think it would be interesting to try and write my own “version” of her poems. Though we speak the same language, I expect that it will look somewhat different from hers. I plan on starting off this project by incorporating some of her quotes and words into my own work. In doing so, I hope that Plath’s work will teach me a little bit about my own writing style.

3 Replies to “on Plath”

  1. I really appreciate this analysis! Plath is someone I personally can’t relate to as a writer, even though she is so praised in the field of female writers. The personification seems like a great technique to use, and I’m really excited to see more examples appear in your poetry. Maybe try to create a poem that incorporates all of those words in your analysis and see how you can connect them together, or have them create friction. Can’t wait to read these poems!

  2. I had to do a monster of a project in high school where we analyzed many of Plath’s piece, including her bee poems. She is a really fantastic poet, and much of her work is related at an abstract level. The way she conveys her thoughts is something I heavily admire.

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