It was summer 2002, when I first read her work. The sun was fervent as always in Fresno, piercing life with its heat. while I sat on the floor of the Humanities building at Fresno City College, speed reading my English assignment. Class would begin in less than thirty minutes, and I knew the instructor for this class loved to call on random students in the classroom and ask, ....so what did you think of the poem, tell me how it made you feel…. I didn’t want to be oblivious to his queries. So as usual, minutes before class, I read the three poems assigned. The last one, Daddy, I read, and read, and reread, and wrote on the side of the page, highlighted words, like- Ach du and lines, like- I used to pray to recover you & The boot in the face, the brute, Brute heart of a brute like you.
I mouthed the stanzas slowly, allowing each word to drizzle out of my mouth, like molasses, sweet to the tongue, a treat for my ears as her written words were spoken, Plath’s poems were like a revelation to me, revealing the beauty of words and its power. Plath’s work had a heartbeat; it was alive. Each poem was full of the abundance life offers, complete with fear and the quiet beauty of it all. Even today, her work still lives on.
Soon after i found myself purchasing Plath’s “The Bell Jar” in audio format, it was read by celebrity Maggie Gyllenhaal, such a great choice. Maggie’s voice was perfect, no other woman, save Plath herself, could have done it justice.
This year is the 50th anniversary of her life. In honor of this during the London Literature Festival, several British actors and writers will be reading from Plath’s book “Ariel”. I can’t think of any place I’d rather be than there come May 26. Hopefully, it will be broadcast on an American network so American fans of Plath can partake of her poems being read aloud. There really is something about poetry being read aloud that is so beautiful and Plath's words are the best.
If you've never had the pleasure of reading any of Sylvia Plath poems, I recommend stopping by any bookstore or even google some of her work and enjoy. Open your mind and heart to poetry, it is the best thing for the soul or at least that's what my physician says. :)
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