from: "Fields of Vision” by D.Delaney
Life and Works
Plath was born in Massachusetts, USA. She was an
excellent student and won many awards and prizes. During her High School years
she had several of her poems and stories published in literary magazines. Plath’s
early poetry revealed an emotionally fragile personality.
Fragile personality She
was obsessed by the idea of perfection and put herself under enormous pressure
which eventually led to a nervous breakdown and a suicide attempt.
Ted Hughes and marriage Following hospitalization
and psychotherapy, she recovered, graduated High School ‘summa cum laude’ and
won a scholarship to study at Cambridge,
she met and married the poet Ted Hughes. The couple moved to the USA but, after just three years, returned to England where
their daughter was born.
The Colossus In
1960 Sylvia Plath’s first volume of poetry, The
Colossus, was published and she began work on an autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar. In 1962 she had a second
child, The Colossus was published in
the USA, radio play, Three Women, was
set to air on the BBC and she was at last gaining some recognition.
This period of relative happiness was interrupted when she discovered that her
husband was having an affair. The couple divorced and six months later Sylvia
Plath committed suicide at her home in London.
Sylvia Plath had not been well-known before her death, but the posthumous
publication of The Bell Jar (1963)
and Ariel (1965, the collection of
thirty-five poems she had written in the last months of her life), brought her
to the public’s attention. While her early poems are mostly about death, her
later work shows the complex personality of a woman in search of her own
identity. Her concern for the condition of women, which emerges in both her
poetry and her autobiography, made her into a spokesperson for feminism. She
was also deeply concerned with issues such as consumerism, the misuse of the
mass-media and technology and the exploitation of man and the environment.
Sylvia Plath’s poetry is highly personal and has often been defined as ‘confessional’.
Many of her poems are written in the dramatic monologue form. Surprising uses
of sound and rhythm, literary equivalents of cinematic techniques such as
flashbacks and close-ups, shocking metaphors and highly personal symbols make
her poetic style extremely distinctive.
In 1981 she was posthumously awarded the
Pulitzer Prize for Literature.
External Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_Plath