13 January 2010

i finished 'the bell jar' by sylvia plath last week and became interested in her life and writing - especially how she describes things in the afterword of the novel.  

i bought her poetry book 'ariel' at the strand this weekend, and i was blown away by robert lowell's description of the imagery in her work. this passage absolutely blows me away: 

"..what is most heroic in her, though, is not her force, but the desperate practicality of her control, her hand of metal with its modest, womanish touch. almost pure motion, she can endure "god, the great stasis in his vacuous night," hospitals, fever, paralysis, the iron lung, being stripped like a girl in the booth of a circus sideshow, dressed like a mannequin, tied down like gulliver by the lilliputians...apartments, babies, prim english landscapes, beehives, yew trees, gardens, the moon, hooks, the black boot, wounds, flowers with mouths like wounds, belsen's lampshades made of human skin, hitler's homicidal iron tanks clanking over russia. suicide, father-hatred, self-loathing - nothing is too much for the macabre gaiety of her control.  yet it is too much; her art's immortality is life's disintegration.  the surprise, the shimmering, unwrapped birthday present, the transcendence "into the red eye, the cauldron of morning," and the lover, who are always waiting for her, are death, her own abrupt and defiant death."