June 16, 1996 Poetry Class
Spring Quarter I took a poetry class. I really enjoyed it and I learned a lot too. I was exposed to great authors and poets and learned more about the ones I already knew about.
I feel especially drawn to Sylvia Plath and her poem “Daddy.” Her life and her death, more than her poems intrigued me I must admit. I read her “Letters Home” and “The Bell Jar,” and I intend to read “Ariel” next.
April 14, 2004 Sylvia
As I watched the the end of the movie Sylvia today, I began sobbing. Why? I’m not sure. The movie was very good, but it was more than that. I think I cried because it brought back memories of my darkest days. She felt alone and incomplete. For years she teetered between life and death. Finally, it became too much. She’d gone numb. That is something I’ve noticed, but read little of—the numbness. I truly believe that you go into a psychological state of shock when the emotional pain is just too intense. It is as if a part of you is broken inside. I totally related. Sylvia’s pain is, on some level, universal.
Her poetry is often called “Confessional.” As if it were being dismissed as less than artistic and visionary because it didn’t address some vague political, religious or philosophical issue. Like all great works of literature, her poetry communicated or conveyed a universal theme in its extremely personal revelations.
This, I think, is more of a feminist traditional. Men or masculine tradition neglects emotions for a more aloof and rational approach. Though Ted Hughes might have been a better poet in his techniques, he never matched Sylvia’s fire. The bad thing about fire, however, is that it often burns out. Few people can manage an Olympic torch throughout their lives, so to speak. My fire nearly burned out. In a way, I did die. Who I was then s not who I am now.
May 15, 2006 Excellent Adventure
After reading the poem“Ted and Sylvia’s Excellent Adventure” by Steven Joyce, I went and got the movie Sylvia out from the library again. When I watched it on Sunday I sobbed at the end yet again. I couldn’t help myself. And although I still identified with Sylvia, I found myself thinking more of Ted this time. This led me to get Ted Hugh’s book of poems out of the library once I returned the Sylvia movie. I began to read Birthday Letters immediately and I am about half way through. I find myself empathizing with Ted. He really loved Sylvia even though his emotional distance and infidelity caused her so much pain. Ted Hughes may have been angry and withdrawn before he even met Sylvia, but he still felt deeply. He was no monster—just a tragic figure. He was the rock that others broke themselves against. His sadness was the kind that could not be washed away. He carried it with him, heavy. As Steven would say, it was an Albatross around his neck for his mistakes.
Even in the unhappiest of times Ted wanted to love Sylvia. But for Ted, distance was his only defense. Sylvia was strong and threatening to her other suitors, but somehow she lost a bit of her edge to Ted. He was powerful, talented and passionate. In many ways Ted was well matched for Sylvia’s fiery spirit. Yet Ted was not enough. The weight of the world, the issues that took hold before Ted came into her life, were too much. Ted lost the control he held so precious and he let Sylvia slip right through his fingers…