Black Girls Don’t Read Sylvia Plath

For those that think that Sylvia Plath is only for upper crust white teenage girls in suburban New England. Black people read Plath, and men too.

Myself as a male (of sorts) often, I’ve had to defend my literary tastes as i.e. Plath or Sexton or the more modern Heti or Strayed. I mean I’m just not so in love with those old white guy writings of Hemingway or whatever macho icon you might associate with such a writing persona. 

It just doesn’t seem to interest me but Plath and I? We get along just fine and have more than just a few things in common, as opposed to just having that gender dynamic in common.  

So what happens when you get older? You care less about who judges you. You get tired of defending yourself to others, and sometimes all that’s left to do, is to just let your work speak for yourself. 

Black Girls Don’t Read Sylvia Plath

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Earlier this summer, I went on a small trip back to Boston for a number of reasons like: business (of writing), the pleasure of unexpected life, and or-the obviousness of death. 

It was all of a sudden, during my little trip when everything went sideways. From sideways, to right side up, and then into a sort of epistemological pilgrimage/journey regarding Sylvia Plath’s personal history and childhood home. And so when I visited her house, I of course I had to visit Otto Plath-i.e. her father’s grave. 

Was it really such an odd thing to investigate? I then wondered, was it a mere coincidence and or was it synchronicity that I was staying in her hometown at a friends house? Either way, it was enlightening and even helpful regarding my own thesis writing, my life’s work related to poetry, memoir, the world, and much, much more…

I soon realized there was no such thing as an obvious/easy answer to what we (or I) often searched for i.e purpose and or simple wonder.

It then, during my deeper gaze into her life, that I saw it. It helped me see some of my own mysteries. And then-poof! I become more self illuminated. I had a shiny, even newer ray of light that spotted me by the water, and then by an old tree that Otto himself had planted. I think it was from a lighthouse that only I could see. It was all followed by a heavy sadness.

As odd as it sounded-it was illumination beyond the everyday. Beyond the things we try to shut out of our minds and or hearts, i.e. The End.

In The End: We’re all just plots in the ground or ashes that blow away in the wind. And yes, regardless of this looming future truth, I still think it’s still something I (and or we) all should explore and or at least try to understand.

Can I (or we) take off the blinders long enough to try and figure it all out-on our own terms? Is that still possible?

How does any of this relate to my own poetry/memoir/life/thesis etc? Am I making sense-or am I just another mentally ill person that says way too much than he should (online anyways)? 

(insert long sigh here…)

In closing, I kind of felt like that unreal yet real secret to writing poetry came to life for me. What secret you ask? I think it was Mary Ruefle who said that every great poem has a great secret in it. And maybe I’ll add to that in saying that (for me anyways) writing poetry is at least 87.5% contemplation and or meditation on: whatever it is that ails, haunts and or drives you. And then maybe the rest of it-is one’s own father issues. 

I never asked for any of this, I mean who does? I never asked for any great enlightenment, nor the sad mood swings, nor the wonderful and or heartbreaking thoughts to all exist in the same space in me, but they do. If you are still reading this you now know I am the king of over-sharing my own personal demons/issues/sadness/happiness.

But hey, maybe it all exists in you too, or maybe it’ll all come out if you let it. That’s all we have right? Trying or should I say: Doing. 

Create as much as you can while you can-if you can.

I hope you all are having a great summer.

-CV