The Great Poet Emily DickinsonThe Great Poet Emily Dickinson    

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“Stars open among the lilies”

(Sylvia Plath)

For me Sylvia Plath's poetry stands out for its character, intensity, vivid symbolism, emotional suffering and flirtation with madness and despair. At its best it seems to stretch the boundaries of both poetry and mental-emotional equilibrium, and it seems to be often permeated with a moody dissatisfaction. Some of these poems are also disturbingly autobiographical, written not long before she ended her life. I believe she raised the idea of suicide onto some sort of pedestal, like a false idol, something which for her symbolised freedom, defiance and independent choice. I instinctively raised my eyebrows at this concept, unconvinced: it is not only that she had two young children at the time dependent on her, whom she would be abandoning in favour of some high and noble concept of defiance; it is most of all that I had the feeling this was a semi-delusional personal myth, somehow designed to cover up the truth - which is that she appeared to be in great emotional pain and therefore longed for a release, an end to the suffering - to me this would have been a more honest confession. In some of her poems, too, I sense that she was toying and posturing with grand pseudo-ideas trying to mythologise her emotional suffering; whereas in other poems - the ones I appreciate the most - there is instead an authentic expression and depiction of a state of mind, of her feelings and perceptions, with a rich symbolic language she created for herself, and this is what draws the reader in the most, still all these years later - into the colourful, intense realm of her emotional experience and imaginative perception. Introductory Comments by Simon Rees, March 2007

A Selection of Favourite Poems by Sylvia Plath

Miss Drake Proceeds to Supper (1956)

Crossing the Water (1962)

Mystic (1963)

Edge (1963)

The Moon and the Yew Tree (1961)

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© Copyright 2007 Simon Rees, Kevin Eakins and SYY Integrated Health Systems, Ltd.  

Disclaimer: The information at this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The content of this website comprises only the observations and opinions of the authors and contributors: it does not constitute medical advice to readers.


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