Sylvia Plath was born in Massachusetts on October 27, 1932.
Although she committed suicide after only 30 years of life, she left behind a body of work that will forever be considered superlative in the annals of literary history.
Her one and only novel, The Bell Jar, a roman à clef, tells the harrowing story of her own adventures as a junior editor for the magazine Mademoiselle, her struggles with mental health, and her eventual experience with electroconvulsive therapy. Even currently, as Showtime prepares to release a TV series based on the work, it is still considered the bible of American feminist angst in the 20th century.
However, it is her masterwork of poetry, Ariel, where her final and most important contributions reside. The last two poems she ever wrote are definitely worth looking into: “Balloons” and “Edge.” She herself was quoted as saying, “These poems are going to make my name.”
(Which they did.)
Let’s take a look at what made Plath the bard that she is:
1. “The hardest thing is to live richly in the present without letting it be tainted out of fear for the future or regret for the past.”
2. “Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.”
3. “Perhaps someday I’ll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.”
4. “I can never read all the books I want; I could never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience in life. And I am horribly limited.”
5. “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
6. “I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between.”
7. “Yes, I was infatuated with you: I am still. No one has ever heightened such a keen capacity of physical sensation in me. I cut you out because I couldn’t stand being a passing fancy. Before I give my body, I must give my thoughts, my mind, my dreams. And you weren’t having any of those.”
8. “If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression Of something beautiful, but annihilating.”
9. “I must get my soul back from you; I am killing my flesh without it.”
10. “I desire things that will destroy me in the end.”