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Voices & Visions

Sylvia Plath

The creative intensity with which Plath confronted her experiences as daughter, wife, mother, and writer is explored in documentary and archival footage intercut with visualizations of her work.

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Sylvia Plath’s status as a major American poet has been obscured by her reputation as a martyr, a victimized woman whose tragic life finally ended in suicide. Nevertheless, there are many who insist the poems in her posthumously published volume, Ariel, represent the most dazzling and productive short period of writing since Keats. In this verse, it is argued, Plath fully realizes the Keatsian sense of the sweetness of death–a longing to be swallowed up by something greater than oneself, to become part of the eternal.

Additional Resources

Academy of American Poets

“Love set you going like a fat gold watch.” Plath describes the birth of her daughter, Frieda, in “Morning Song,” one of three Plath poems at the Academy of American Poets’ Plath site. While there, read the Plath biography and the thoughtful essay on daughters in poems and explore the list of Plath-related links.

Sylvia Plath Resources

From a paper on the imagery in Plath’s poem “Daddy” to an interview with Ted Hughes in the Spring 1995 Paris Review, Anja Beckmann of the University of Leipzig offers a wealth of information on Plath, her work, and her life. Take time to examine the contents of this rich site.

Modern American Poetry: Sylvia Plath

Compiled and prepared by Karen Ford and Cary Nelson, this site brings together articles and book excerpts about Plath, her life and her works. The “A Sylvia Plath Exhibit” section displays photographs from throughout Plath’s life.

New York University’s Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database

“Dying / Is an art, like everything else.” Summaries and comments on more than a dozen of Plath’s works, including “Lady Lazarus” and The Bell Jar, are provided at this NYU site.

BBC Arts/Poetry: Sylvia Plath Reads

Plath reads some of her own poetry.

BBC News: “Hughes Breaks Silence Over Plath”

This headline begins the BBC report on Ted Hughes’s book of poems, Birthday Letters. The site includes an audio excerpt from Hughes’s poem describing his first sight of Plath.