We’re celebrating the birthday of Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932–February 11, 1963) by a news round-up of interesting articles circulating about the poet and her life. You can find good article-long biographies of her at The Academy of American Poets and a lengthy one at The Poetry Foundation.
Take a look at some of our favorite and Sylvia Plath’s most famous poems below:
- “Daddy” Quote: The black telephone’s off at the root,/The voices just can’t worm through.
- “Lady Lazarus” Quote: Out of the ash/I rise with my red hair/And I eat men like air.
- “Morning Song” Quote: Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
Sylvia’s Loves: We loved “What Sylvia Plath Loved” which uses Plath’s journals to uncover her obsessions—from sunbathing to Ouiji.
Sylvia’s Missing Obituaries: While most people know that Plath committed suicide in 1963, it is curious that there are very few obituaries from the time of her death. According to one of her biographers Peter K. Steinberg, author of Sylvia Plath:
“The death notices that I did find were kind of curious, because they were about the death of ‘Sylvia Hughes.’ That was her legal, married name, and they were mostly in the local Boston papers. Most didn’t mention that she was a writer. One full obituary was published in The Wellesley Townsman, and it said that she’d died of viral pneumonia. Obviously that’s a lie—and that was done, I think, to try to draw away a connection to the 1953 suicide attempt. That was one of the earlier obituaries, about 16 days after she died.”
Read the full interview, “There Are Almost No Obituaries for Sylvia Plath” by Ashley Fetters in The Atlantic.
A Reading: Check out former Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project, with this great reading of “Nick and the Candlestick” performed by photographer Seph Rodney. Plath writes in “Nick and the Candlestick”: Old cave of calcium/Icicles, old echoer./Even the newts are white,/Those holy Joes.
Plath Speaks from the Dead: Listen to a recording of Plath herself over at Brain Pickings: Sylvia Plath on Poetry and a Rare Recording of Her Reading the Poem “The Disquieting Muses.” It’s eerie and lovely.
Happy Birthday, Ms. Plath. We’ll be reading you.
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About the Author: Abigail Browning
Abigail Browning, Founder and Managing Editor, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, received her MFA in Poetry at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Abigail has poems either published or forthcoming in the Yemassee Journal Online, The Greensboro Review, Linebreak, and RHINO Poetry. In addition, she was honored to receive the Amon Liner Poetry Award, the Noel Callow/Academy of American Poets’ Prize, and was a finalist for the Linda Flowers NC Arts Prize. She also has a passion for jazz music and dance, and teaches swing-era dances in her free time: www.abigailbrowning.com. Currently, she is studying Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media as a PhD at NC State in Raleigh, NC.