Reading poetry: Plath and Sexton

Poetry is consumed much less than prose. There is something about it that is intimidating but if you take into account what I have written about literature interpretation, you don’t need to be overwhelmed. Poetry can mean whatever you want it to.

The poets I started with were Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton because of their strong feminist influence and their experience of mental health, both of which are important to me.

I wrote an essay at school about Sylvia Plath and how she expresses her mental illness through her writing. I really enjoyed her novel The Bell Jar too. If you have struggled with depression, you will feel understood in her poetry. However, these poems will not uplift you so there is a trigger warning. Ariel includes some of her most famous poems like Daddy and Lady Lazarus.

I decided to pick up Anne Sexton when I did a module about fairy-tales at university. We were looking a different versions of fairy-tales and how writers had changed the original story. We came across Angela Carter which is to be expected but we also came across Sexton which I wasn’t expecting. She has a whole collection (Transformations) of her poetic versions of fairy-tales. My favourites were Snow White, Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel. This may be because I was most familiar with the origins of those stories and not as familiar with other stories included.

I hope to give more poetry a try in the future.

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