Revisiting an Old Friend: Sylvia Plath

“The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.” Sylvia Plath

I hadn’t read Plath for years, but when I recently heard a BBC recording of her reading Tulips, I pulled out my copy of Ariel to say hello to an old friend.

Ariel was published posthumously back in the 60s, and contains the poems written in the last months of her life. The collection,  as Robert Lowell writes, was “rushed out at the rate of two or three a day.”

For me, re-reading Ariel, reminded me of why I liked Plath’s work so very much, and how in awe I was of her willingness to open her skin to all of us who sat on the other side of the page.

Not surprisingly, after all these years, her words still sting with an anger that’s barely concealed. And, even now – some forty years later, I can’t read Daddy without shivering; the horror she paints takes the breath away.  Like the Tulips.



Images Courtesy Erik Strum and Tim Green


  2 comments for “Revisiting an Old Friend: Sylvia Plath

  1. Kaitlin
    07/18/2013 at 10:26 am

    Someone shared this site with me this morning. Particularly your post titled “My Story and An Invitation…” I’ve been going through the same thing the past couple of years…and I’m only in my mid-twenties. Though I suppose it’s better to make such a realization while I have plenty of time to re-discover my passion for writing.

    Anyway…I absolutely love Sylvia Plath. I’m very drawn to the confessional style of poetry and have always written my poems in that style. I especially relate to the content of Plath’s poems and the imagery she creates. I’m currently working on a cento of Plath poems, and it’s been just the thing I need to reignite my passion (along with participating in National Poetry Writing Month back in April). I’m enjoying it! I can’t remember the last time I worked so hard on a writing project and actually had fun with it and felt creative.

    Excited to read more about the art of extraordinary writing!

  2. thewriter
    07/18/2013 at 10:35 am

    Hi Kaitlin,

    Thanks for visiting and for your post. You are so fortunate – being in your mid-twenties you have plenty of time to change course and find a way to blend passion with commerce. I know everyone says this – but I really do wish I knew at 20 what I know today about writing and being a freelancer. I would have moved into a different way of doing things.

    I would love to read more of your work; if you ever get the desire, I’d be happy to post one of your pieces on the site. I hope that if more of us are willing to get out there and share our work, we’ll grow as writers and as passionate people.

    Let me know about your poetry – and I hope I have the opportunity to highlight at least one of your works here on the site.

    Thanks for visiting and for commenting!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *