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Sylvia Plath

  • Every woman adores a Fascist, / The boot in the face, the brute / Brute heart of a brute like you.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • "Daddy" (1963), Selected Poems of Sylvia Plath ()
  • I've tried to picture my world and the people in it as seen through the distorting lens of a bell jar.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • conversation with Aurelia Plath, her mother ()
  • There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them.

  • To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream.

  • If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at once and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell. I'll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.

  • Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.

  • I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.

  • Dying / Is an art, like everything else. / I do it exceptionally well.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • "Lady Lazarus," Ariel ()
  • The blood jet is poetry / There is no stopping it.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • "Kindness," Ariel ()
  • A living doll, everywhere you look. / It can sew, it can cook. / It can talk, talk, talk ... / My boy, it's your last resort. / Will you marry it, marry it, marry it.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • "The Applicant," Ariel ()
  • Perfection is terrible, it cannot have children.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • "The Munich Mannequins," Ariel ()
  • The woman is perfected. / Her dead / Body wears the smile of accomplishment.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • "Edge," Ariel ()
  • Love set you going like a fat gold watch. / The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry / Took its place among the elements.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • "Morning Song," Ariel ()
  • Is there no way out of the mind?

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • "Apprehensions," Crossing the Water ()
  • The surgeon is quiet, he does not speak. / He has seen too much death, his hands are full of it.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • "The Courage of Shutting-Up," Winter Trees ()
  • It is a terrible thing / To be so open: it is as if my heart / Put on a face and walked into the world ...

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • "Three Women: A Poem for Three Voices," Winter Trees ()
  • You ask me why I spend my life writing? / Do I find entertainment? / Is it worthwhile? / Above all, does it pay? / If not, then, is there a reason? / I write only because / There is a voice within me / That will not be still.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1948, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • I like people, but to learn about one individual always appeals to me more than anything.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1950, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • My love for you is more / Athletic than a verb ...

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • "Verbal Calisthenics" (1953), in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • The thing about writing is not to talk, but to do it; no matter how bad or even mediocre it is, the process and production is the thing, not the sitting and theorizing about how one should write ideally, or how well one could write if one really wanted to or had the time.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1954, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • The constant struggle in mature life, I think, is to accept the necessity of tragedy and conflict, and not to try to escape to some falsely simple solution which does not include these more somber complexities.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1955, letter to Olive Higgins Prouty, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home: Correspondence 1950-1963 ()
  • ... although this is the one man in the world for me, although I am using every fiber of my being to love him, even so, I am true to the essence of myself, and I know who that self is ...

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1956, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • All is learning, discovering, and speaking in a strong voice out of the heart of sorrow and joy.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1956, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • Every day one has to earn the name of 'writer' over again, with much wrestling.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1956, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • If every soldier refused to take arms ... there would be no wars; but no one has the courage to be the first to live according to Christ and Socrates, because in a world of opportunists they would be martyred.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1956, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • Ted and I realize the fatality is to stop writing. We would go on, daily, writing a few pages of drivel until the juice came back, rather than stop, because the inertia built up is terrible to conquer. So, for our 'health' we write at least two hours a day.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1956, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • I feel terribly vulnerable and 'not-myself' when I'm not writing ...

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1957, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • The wonderful thing about these stories is that I can do them by perspiration, not inspiration — so I can work on them while Frieda is playing in the room ...

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1960, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • It's incredible to think that carpets can create a state of mind, but I am so suggestible to colors and textures that I'm sure a red carpet would keep me forever optimistic ...

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1961, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • ... stop trying to get me to write about 'decent courageous people' — read the Ladies' Home Journal for those! ... I believe in going through and facing the worst, not hiding from it.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1962, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()

Sylvia Plath, U.S. poet, writer

(1932 - 1963)