Author photo by artist, Walter Bakowski

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Syvia Plath writing in her journal, 23 Fitzroy Road, London, February 1963 - genesis of the poem and video link

Writing my Sylvia Plath homage poem involved reading several biographies of Sylvia, a biography of her poet husband, Ted Hughes, and a biography of the woman he left Sylvia for - Assia Wevill.
I also re-read Sylvia's poems, especially the ones written in the last weeks of her life.
A key fact that helped me in writing the poem was learning that the winter that Sylvia killed herself was the coldest London in 100 years.
Melbourne poet, David Lumsden, also encouraged me to write a Sylvia Plath poem that didn't mention gas - unlit gas fumes from the kitchen oven being the cause of Sylvia's death.
Over the course of two years I revised the poem a dozen times. Reading all the biographies concerning Sylvia, Ted and their circle, was invaluable to me in realizing the poem. I get lots of poems from reading - reading continues to seed poems for me. Click here to hear and see me read the Sylvia poem.


  1. I went through a huge Sylvia Plath obsession when i was a young(er) girl during my first and second years of university. I think it's such a girl thing to go through, being into Plath's life and poetry. I really identified with her. Looking back, i feel slightly embarrassed and egotistical likening my life with hers. I guess we all go through some embarrassing phases though.

  2. Dear Yalei,
    I remain fascinated by the Plath/Hughes dynamic and have written a further/new poem regarding them.
    Cringe-inducing moments are part of our lives.
    Every good wish,