Sylvia Plath, pseudonym Victoria Lucas, (born October 27, 1932, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. – died February 11, 1963, London, England) was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer.
Plath is best known for the two of her published poetry collections, The Colossus and Other Poems (1960) and Ariel (1965), and The Bell Jar (1963), her only novel, published shortly before her death.
The Collected Poems (1981), which includes previously unpublished poems written from 1956 until her death, received the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Plath was the first person to receive the honor posthumously.
Sylvia Plath is still a highly admired poet, and interest in her and her works continued into the 21st century.
I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am.'Chapter 20,' The Bell Jar (1963)
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.Lady Lazarus (October 23–29, 1962)
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.Mad Girl's Love Song (1953)
Security to us is in ourselves, and no job, or even money, can give us what we have to develop: faith in our work, and hard hard work which is Spartan in many ways.Letter to Warren Plath (June 11, 1958)
Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (February 19, 1956)
Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything it is because we are dangerously near to wanting nothing.Excerpt from a letter to Richard Sassoon (December 11, 1955)
There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them'Chapter 2,' The Bell Jar (1963)
I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
What a man is is an arrow into the future and what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from.'Chapter 6,' The Bell Jar (1963)
You have to be able to make a real creative life for Yourself, before you can expect anyone Else to provide one ready-made for you.Letter (June – July 1953)
I love people. Everybody. I love them, I think, as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me. My love’s not impersonal yet not wholly subjective either. I would like to be everyone, a cripple, a dying man, a whore, and then come back to write about my thoughts, my emotions, as that person. But I am not omniscient. I have to live my life, and it is the only one I’ll ever have. And you cannot regard your own life with objective curiosity all the time.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
And what is happy? It is a going always on. There is something better to be done than I have done, and spurred by the fair delusion of progress, I will seek to progress, to whip myself on, to more and more – to learning. Always.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
There is so much hurt in this game of searching for a mate, of testing, trying. And you realize suddenly that you forgot it was a game, and turn away in tears.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.Letter (June – July 1953)
There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends.'Chapter 4,' The Bell Jar (1963)
I know pretty much what I like and dislike; but please, don’t ask me who I am.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
Why can’t I try on different lives, like dresses, to see which fits best and is most becoming?The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
So much working, reading, thinking, living to do. A lifetime is not long enough. Nor youth to old age long enough. Immortality and permanence be damned. Sure I want them, but they are nonexistent, and won’t matter when I rot underground. All I want to say is: I made the best of a mediocre job. It was a good fight while it lasted. And so life goes.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
How we need another soul to cling to.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter – for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself… Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (November 22, 1955 – April 18, 1956)
Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
What horrifies me most is the idea of being useless: well-educated, brilliantly promising, and fading out into an indifferent middle-age.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (December 12, 1958 – November 15, 1959)
I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to
live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
The hardest thing, I think, is to live richly in the present, without letting it be tainted and spoiled out of fear for the future or regret for a badly managed past.Letter to Mother (January 17, 1956)
I too want to be important. By being different. And these girls are all the same.Cambridge Notes (From Notebooks, February 1956)
The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.'Chapter 2,' The Bell Jar (1963)
With me, the present is forever, and forever is always shifting, flowing, melting. This second is life. And when it is gone it is dead. But you can’t start over with each new second. You have to judge by what is dead. It’s like quicksand… hopeless from the start.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
I wonder why I don’t go to bed and go to sleep. But then it would be tomorrow, so I decide that no matter how tired, no matter how incoherent I am, I can skip one hour more of sleep and live.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
Why don’t you go? Stop thinking selfishly of razors and self-wounds and going out and ending it all. Your room is not your prison. You are.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
I saw the gooseflesh on my skin. I did not know what made it. I was not cold. Had a ghost passed over? No, it was the poetry.Ocean 1212-W (Essay, 1962)
Believe in some beneficent force beyond your own limited self. God, god, god: where are you? I want you, need you: the belief in you and love and mankind. You must not seek escape like this. You must think.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
Indecision and reveries are the anesthetics of constructive action.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953)
Freedom is not of use to those who do not know how to employ it.The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath (July 1950 – July 1953))
It seems this is an age of clever critics who keep bewailing the fact that there are no works worthy of criticism.Letter to Mother (February 2, 1956)
Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.Sylvia Plath: A Biographical Note, The Bell Jar (1963)