Poetry News

Wherever Do Thou Lodgest, Sylvia Plath, Now?

By Harriet Staff

The Rumpus has a vagueish inquiry into the whereabouts of Sylvia Plath today--after quoting from a few reductive, antiquated reviews of "the woman poet," David Beispiel asks:

So, now, why not ask, what of Sylvia Plath? Where is she? I mean, what of Sylvia Plath, who would have turned 80 this year, nowadays?

I’m not sure I can go there. You know, let’s be honest, what can be said about her that hasn’t already been written? She’s a marvel, for sure, the most thoroughly Renaissance sort of, delightful, muscular, physically textural poet of the generation of American poets born in the 1930s.


In the other is a poetry world as it has existed without her, after 1963, our actual poetry world of the posthumous life of Sylvia Plath, with the hounded Ted Hughes and their children (and with one of her grown children hounded into adulthood too), our actual poetry world of fractured poetics after the death of Plath. It’s as if Plath’s death fragmentified (yes, that’s how we talk in Texas) American poetry for the last half century.

Here’s a late night question for you: Could Plath have kept the iamb alive? Would she have?

AND he closes with a sad "[a]nd now it’s just hard to find her influence anywhere in today’s American poetry," which we'd surely argue....

Originally Published: November 1st, 2012