Topic: Sylvia Plath Pt1
Poem: “Mad Girl’s Love Song” and “Ella Mason and Her Eleven Cats”
Recorded: January 20, 2022
This week Poetry Club takes on the work and life of Sylvia Plath, an American poet (October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963). Poetry Club looks past her “sad girl” persona and rejoices in the craft and construction of this mid-20th century poet’s marvelous work.
The range of her work is explored as we compare the energy of “Mad Girl’s Love Song” to “Ella Mason and Her Eleven Cats” in the first of this series. Plath’s word choice, rhythm, hyperbole, and images are examined. Join us as we dive into the Queen of Confessional Poetry.
“In 1950, Plath matriculated at Smith College, where she graduated summa cum laude in 1955.
After graduation, Plath moved to Cambridge, England, on a Fulbright Scholarship. In early 1956, she attended a party and met the English poet Ted Hughes. Shortly thereafter, Plath and Hughes were married, on June 16, 1956.
Plath returned to Massachusetts in 1957 and began studying with Robert Lowell. Her first collection of poems, Colossus, was published in 1960 in England, and two years later in the United States. She returned to England, where she gave birth to her children Frieda and Nicholas, in 1960 and 1962, respectively.
In 1962, Ted Hughes left Plath for Assia Gutmann Wevill. That winter, Plath wrote most of the poems that would comprise her most famous book, Ariel.
In 1963, Plath published a semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. She died on February 11 of that year.
Plath’s poetry is often associated with the Confessional movement and compared to the work of poets such as Lowell and fellow student Anne Sexton. Often, her work is singled out for the intense coupling of its violent or disturbed imagery and its playful use of alliteration and rhyme.”
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