[Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Dressing for the Four Seasons with Sylvia Plath

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”-Orson Welles

Sylvia Plath is best remembered for the sharp-edged precision of her poetry: word-vessels that are hard, clear, and passionate examples of literature’s trickiest form. Her style, although of minor importance to both literary historians and laypersons, remains fresh and appealing fifty years after her death. The timeless quality of Sylvia’s wardrobe is easy to emulate, and personalize.

Four Seasons, Five Photographs, Forever Stylish:

Sylvia Plath: Spring

Sylvia Plath: Spring

 A crisp white tee, corset belt, and floaty high-waisted skirt is the perfect outfit for the windy days of spring. She finishes it off simply with lipstick and a hairpin. Typewriter: optional. [This is my favourite photograph of a writer caught in the act of writing. I’ve always envied the imagined comforts of working in a garden setting. Sun-on-skin; light, earth-tainted breeze; a lounge chair to sink wearily into for moments of reflection; a glass of lemonade nearby–just out of frame; birds in trees. Sylvia kicks that fantasy up a few rungs by being so perfectly attired, and so full of creative concentration.]

Sylvia Plath Summer

Sylvia Plath: Summer

The architectural details at the top make this bathing suit a gem. Clean lines and a good fit can turn a basic, sporty garment into something unforgettably elegant. If I had one of these in every colour, I would live at the beach. Wouldn’t you? [It’s funny how certain summer days are inexpressibly golden, when words fall off of tongues unspoken and melt on the air like dissolving grains of sand. The whole of the world, for a split second, seems beautiful and warm. Contentment emerges, as fleeting as a skittering crab. Sylvia’s expression here is surely one of those moments captured and entombed by a photograph. Serenity is the best adornment.] Continue reading

Ubiquitous Sylvia Plath Birthday Post!

Sylvia Plath was born on 27 October 1932.

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath.

It is cold and blustery, today, but the sun shines with extra force. How appropriate.

“Eternity bores me, I never wanted it.”-Sylvia Plath, Ariel: The Restored Edition

A Year in Books/Day 215: Ariel Poems by Sylvia Plath

English: Digital image of Sylvia Plath's signature

English: Digital image of Sylvia Plath’s signature (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Title: Ariel Poems by Sylvia Plath
  • Author: Sylvia Plath
  • Year Published: 1965 (HarperPerennial)
  • Year Purchased: 1994
  • Source: A bookstore in Tennessee.
  • About: Sylvia was a born writer. She wrote like a lioness: fearless, protective, maternal, bold, ruthless, nurturing, unapologetic. Published a couple of years after her suicide, her estranged husband, Ted Hughes, changed the make-up of Ariel by switching out twelve poems for those of his choosing; it took 39 years for this to be righted. This is the altered edition. No matter, the poems are stunning. My favourites change with the seasons, my mood, my age. They are chameleons, different with each reading. They should, at that, be read aloud. Adding a voice tips the alchemical balance anew. If you haven’t read Plath’s poems in a while, try again. She isn’t just for moody teenage girls. I promise.
  • Motivation: I was young, very young. I bought this slim volume on a road trip to Tennessee. It was autumn, the leaves were falling. I wore a lot of plaid dresses and flat shoes, good for twirling around in the crisp mountain air. The season was a perfect accompaniment for her fierce lamentations and burning clarity, a like-minded companion for the turmoil of my heart.
  • Times Read: Multiple
  • Random Excerpt/Page 57: “I cannot run, I am rooted, and the gorse hurts me/With its yellow purses, its spiky armoury./I could not run without having to run forever./The white hive is snug as a virgin,/Selling off her brood cells, her honey, and quietly humming.”
  • Happiness Scale: 8


Daily Diversion #43: Dying is an Art*

I took the day off from writing…

Dying is an art.

Dying is an art.

to play with skeletons and drink hard cider. See you tomorrow!

*”Dying 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.”-Sylvia Plath 

Daily Diversion #39: Beating Time Along the Edge of Thought*

When I cannot write, I look up. Craned neck, closed eyes. I swivel my creaking chair, and open them.

Meditative whir and whirl

Meditative whir and whirl

Rendered in black-and-white, like rubbed-away ink on a faded page.

*“…beating time along the edge of thought.”-Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath