The Musings of a Boho Girl

bōˈhēmēən (noun) 1. a free spirit ; 2. a writer; 3. an explorer of the Avant-Garde.

Tag: Sylvia Plath

Happy Birthday to Sylvia Plath

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Fever 103

Pure? What does it mean?
The tongues of hell
Are dull, dull as the triple

Tongues of dull, fat Cerberus
Who wheezes at the gate. Incapable
Of licking clean

The aguey tendon, the sin, the sin.
The tinder cries.
The indelible smell

Of a snuffed candle!
Love, love, the low smokes roll
From me like Isadora’s scarves, I’m in a fright

One scarf will catch and anchor in the wheel,
Such yellow sullen smokes
Make their own element. They will not rise,

But trundle round the globe
Choking the aged and the meek,
The weak

Hothouse baby in its crib,
The ghastly orchid
Hanging its hanging garden in the air,

Devilish leopard!
Radiation turned it white
And killed it in an hour.

Greasing the bodies of adulterers
Like Hiroshima ash and eating in.
The sin. The sin.

Darling, all night
I have been flickering, off, on, off, on.
The sheets grow heavy as a lecher’s kiss.

Three days. Three nights.
Lemon water, chicken
Water, water make me retch.

I am too pure for you or anyone.
Your body
Hurts me as the world hurts God. I am a lantern—

My head a moon
Of Japanese paper, my gold beaten skin
Infinitely delicate and infinitely expensive.

Does not my heat astound you! And my light!
All by myself I am a huge camellia
Glowing and coming and going, flush on flush.

I think I am going up,
I think I may rise —
The beads of hot metal fly, and I love, I

Am a pure acetylene
Virgin
Attended by roses,

By kisses, by cherubim,
By whatever these pink things mean!
Not you, nor him

Nor him, nor him
(My selves dissolving, old whore petticoats) —
To Paradise.

Listen to Plath read Fever 103 here.

Time Remembered: My 5 Loves for August

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Looking back always stirs nostalgia. Several years ago in August, I was at a market looking around when I came across a beautiful cameo, Leda and the Swan. My haggling skills are lacking so I ended up walking away from the vintage pendant. Sometimes I regret it, but was it worth the €350? This month my five obsessions are from the past.

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Remnants of The Yellow Wall-Paper

Joan Didion, author of

Joan Didion, author of “Play It as It Lays”, and “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”, is pictured here on May 1, 1977.(AP Photo)

“It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw – not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things.” – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

It’s odd how dreams are conceived and misplaced. Joan Didion’s first novel, Run River, was published in 1963; it’s the same year Sylvia Plath killed herself. Sometimes I think of how Plath’s dreams must have disappeared the day she decided to end her life and at the same time, somewhere across the Atlantic, Didion might have been reading proofs with notes from her editor; she was looking forward to realising a dream as someone else’s ended. I wonder how dreams die so suddenly, beyond the mental illness, something happens in society that breaks us. How did Didion avoid rejection and self doubt? Maybe she hid it beneath the cool girl aesthetic or she was stronger than the others? Plath didn’t live long enough to create the narrative she would have wanted. Culturally Plath will always be framed as the wronged housewife and poet who struggled to divide her time between writing and caring for her young family. Feminists often cite her as the victim of domesticity. Plath became a martyr for the feminist movement and many view her poetry is a symbol of the domestic struggle.

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May: My Five Obsessions

I have fond memories of May, it’s the month of ballet recitals and theatre performances. There were dress rehearsals, performances and then it was all over. If you were critical, you thought about every step and what you could have done better; if you were content, you went on to enjoy the summer. I was critical so I spent most of May re-thinking my performance until my Summer Intensive began. Times have changed, I don’t attend student productions at NYU anymore, now there are weddings and baptisms. Before I get too nostalgic, here are the five things that I love right now.

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On February 11th

I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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Year after year there are articles commemorating the death of Sylvia Plath, it’s hard to read them. How can we commemorate the death of a brilliant mind? I was drawn to Sylvia Plath…her life was beautiful and tragic; her private struggles had become as famous as her poetry. After her suicide people blamed her husband, poet Ted Hughes. Right or wrong, the idea of Sylvia Plath Hughes evoked such anger that her married surname was repeatedly erased from her tombstone. This day is heartbreaking…not just because two children lost their mother but because a woman lost everything: her life, her privacy, and her future. February 11th is the day that happened. It is the day that others began to re-write Sylvia Plath, it’s the day they labeled her a tormented woman, a fragile soul, a vindictive wife, etc. We almost lost her poetry to those labels.

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52*

“I believe that there are people who think as I do, who have thought as I do, who will think as I do.”

— Sylvia Plath

I first read those words as a teenager eager to gain insight into this mysterious figure. There were stories, so many stories of her marriage to Hughes, her mental illness and her suicide. Critics argued Plath’s work was inextricably linked to her life, I always disagreed with my professors and classmates in an easy-going manner. I accepted the incredulous looks and groans with amusement, after all, I knew better. As my professor patiently defined confessional poetry, I devised a counterargument: it was simply that there was more to Plath’s poetry than her tumultuous life. Read the rest of this entry »