World Poetry Day
The poet Sylvia Plath has written many poems that have become quite infamous and she is often known for her darker poems such as Lady Lazarus and Daddy.
World Poetry Day
One of the reasons we teach poetry at St Catherine’s is to help students make sense of their place in the world. The study of poetry is one of the most challenging, but rewarding, in English and Literature studies. The ambiguity of many poems offers a wonderful opportunity for students to have freedom in their ideas and interpretations. Our Literature courses all contain a unit of study that focuses on poetry. This year, in Year 11 Literature students are studying Sylvia Plath and in Year 12 Literature, the poet Robert Browning. Studying poetry is not an easy task as some poems can offer mature views and values on life and one’s place in it. However, this allows students to look within themselves and consider these complex issues of humanity and existence.
The poet Sylvia Plath has written many poems that have become quite infamous and she is often known for her darker poems such as Lady Lazarus and Daddy. One of my favourite poems written by Plath is less well known and studied. It is a poem titled You’re and it challenges students to really examine the powerful imagery and metaphor Plath employs and find their own interpretation of the poem. When students discover what the poem’s subject matter is, they are surprised and appreciative of Plath’s skill in creating such a clever and unique poem.
As it is World Poetry Day, I would love you all to read the poem below and see if you can find your own interpretation because there is a Literature student in every one of us.
By Sylvia Plath
Clownlike, happiest on your hands,
Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,
Gilled like a fish. A common-sense
Thumbs-down on the dodo’s mode.
Wrapped up in yourself like a spool,
Trawling your dark as owls do.
Mute as a turnip from the Fourth
Of July to All Fools’ Day,
O high-riser, my little loaf.
Vague as fog and looked for like mail.
Farther off than Australia.
Bent-backed Atlas, our traveled prawn.
Snug as a bud and at home
Like a sprat in a pickle jug.
A creel of eels, all ripples.
Jumpy as a Mexican bean.
Right, like a well-done sum.
A clean slate, with your own face on.