the literary life 8/8/10
I watched the movie, Sylvia, tonight about the life and poetry of Sylvia Plath, her stormy relationship with Ted Hughes, her depression, and her suicide. The movie was good, not great, but still impactful. I think it could have paid more attention to the aesthetics of film-making. Still, I wanted to see it because somehow I neglected to watch it when it came out a few years ago, and I've been reading Ariel. The poems are exquisite, haunting, and as one character in the movie put it, "almost frightening." I'm in love with Plath's work. I've read Ariel a few times, but each time I brave the collection, I find a new set of poems. This time I wanted to focus on Plath's innovative use of language. I also noticed that despite the darkness, there is a kind of bitter black humor in the poems as well, which I hadn't noticed before. Anyway, this whole topic of artists, depression, and suicide troubles me. I am aware that depression can be a side effect of having a creative mind, but I strongly believe that creative expression emerges out of a healthy mind, a mind that is engaged and curious. When we write while depressed, don't our best pieces inspire us to push through the depression, even fleetingly, toward light? Yet Plath was a genius who struggled with emotional instability. I wonder, had she lived longer, if she would have made friends with her depression. Anyhow, I want to read the Journals of Sylvia Plath, a book I bought many years ago, but only skimmed. I'm anxious to learn more about Sylvia. I want to write a poem inspired by her.