Sylvia Plath

Why We Don’t Like Stories in Which the Mentally Ill Heroine Recovers
The surprisingly stable afterlife of the author of 'I Never Promised You a Rose Garden'
June 03, 2014

What happens when the author of a classic YA memoir of mental illness grows up?

Was Sylvia Plath Just A "Minor Poet"?
February 11, 2014

Plath's tragic death can make her seem legacy more important than it really is. 

The Five Types of Amazon Critic
October 01, 2012

How to pan the great works of literature on Amazon? Meet the five varieties of one-star amateur reviewer:

The READ: You Wouldn’t Like Her Angry
July 14, 2010

At a reading I went to last week, a young writer named Amelia Gray took the stage and announced with a demure smile that she was going to read some “threats.” Some were humorous: “I will gather your oldest friends at my home and we will have a conversation. You will hear us talking but when you come into the room we will stop talking.” Some left the menace to the imagination: “Try to kiss me. See what happens to your lips.” Some were vividly violent. “Your face is sealed with glue I have boiled in a vat. ...

Reality Theater
May 03, 2004

SINCE THE 1960S, WHEN Michael McClure imagined Billy the Kid humping Jean Harlow in The Beard and Barbara Garson had Lyndon Johnson whacking Jack Kennedy in MacBird, it has grown obvious that actual people, often still among us, have become the grist of American playwriting. In one recent week alone, a musical opened by Michael John LaChiusa called First Lady Suite, featuring Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy, and Mamie Eisenhower, along with a semi-fictional comedy by A.R. Gurney called Mrs. Farnsworth, about a Vassar woman who may or may not have been impregnated by George W.

Ariel's Appetite
December 18, 2000

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath edited by Karen V. Kukil (Anchor Books, 732 pp., $18)      Saturday exhausted, nerves frayed. Sleepless.      Threw you, book, down, punched with fist.      Kicked, punched. Violence seethed. Joy to      murder someone, pure scapegoat. But pacified      during necessity to work. ... Baked a lemon      meringue pie, cooled lemon custard and crust      on cold bathroom windowsill, stirring in black      night and stars. Set table, candles, glasses      sparkling crystal barred crystal on yellow      woven cloth ...

Poetry
December 09, 1978

Never have so many written with such technical skill: this remark, as often an expression of frustration and dismay as of admiration, has become a commonplace of poetry criticism in the 1970s. Never, of course, have so many written. And published. And competed for a lamentably small audience: there are perhaps more writers than readers of poetry at the present time. In so diminished a sphere the consequences have been, and continue to be, predictable.