...There goes the 2-5 day posting. 'Course, that was somewhat of a strange way to do things anyhow, so how about this; I'll post when I can, but generally strive for at least once a week.
That said, let's move on to the Plathster, the idol of melodramatic women around the world (keep in mind, Plath also committed suicide). Don't shudder at that statement, though; if you happen to not know Plath
, she's a great poet and is notable for particularly unique images and phrases (Plathian!), phrases that pop up in inferior form in many a poetess' work. Honestly, I haven't read a whole lot of Plath (probably 8-9 poems worth), but notable qualities (other than Plathian images) are strong internal rhyme that help build momentum, interesting enjambment and syntax, and the effective employment of repetition. Here's a poem (my favorite as of now) that displays her strengths very well:
You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.
Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time--
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal
And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend
Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.
It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene
An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.
The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.
I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You--
Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.
You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who
Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.
But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look
And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I'm finally through.
The black telephone's off at the root,
The voices just can't worm through.
If I've killed one man, I've killed two--
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.
There's a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.
By Sylvia Plath
Great power through repetition, coupled with unique imagery and phrases typical of Plath; more on the former from Jessica Schneider
in the article Mature Poets Steal
. I promise you students would be more interested in the poetry unit if we read poems as aggressive as this one, but just the word "bastard" in the last line (not to mention the rest of the poem) is enough to make it ineligible for consideration, most likely. We read "Jilted
" in 9th grade, actually; a good poem, but lacking the greatness and sheer intensity of "Daddy" or other select Plath poems.
Also by Jessica Schneider, here's a This Old Poem
for Sylvia Plath. Like said, sometimes Plath overwrites, but no matter; she has plenty of good poems worth reading. Here's a 230-poem online compilation
if you'd like to delve.