Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Boston Poets

Lowell, Plath and Sexton. It's strange how these three influential poets lives crossed, and how parallel they seem despite thier differences. Lowell was my least favorite of the three and I guess that's because I felt unable to understand his struggle as much as with Plath or Sexton whose lives were unimportant they felt if they were not married. I believe Lowell felt the same but to a much lesser degree, his poetry reflected his failed marriage and the seperation of his son, he wrote the poem "Near the Ocean" for his former wife Elizabeth Hardwich Lowell. Honestly even that poem to me seemed trite and I had a difficult time absorbing the meaning of his words and what exactly he was trying to say or feel. Where in Sexton's poetry especilly I made an immediate connection and I feel like I understand her. In her poem "Housewife" she talks about losing yourself to become somone else, some THING else, a housewife. " It's another kind of skin; it has a heart, a liver and bowel movements." (Sexton 3049). She's talking about this seperate thing you become apart of when you are married, this role you are expected to fill and the way you lose your identity when you fill it. That happened to me when my husband and I were first married, I fell into a depression and felt like I'd lost everything about me that I'd love. I cleaned and cooked, did the laundry and pleased my husband but I was so unhappy. I see all of this in her poem, of course I found myself again and my marriage is much better for having gotten out of that and talking about what was going on with me but reading this immediatly took me back there, and reading Sylvia Plath's introduction shined a light to her depression and why both women were emotionally unstable and spent a fair share of time hospitalized and both chose to end their lives early. It's so unbelievably tragic, their pain and suffering is so beautiful in their writting and you truly fee what they were feeling. Living in a society with expectations that they could not fulfill, I think that's why for Lowell despite having similar struggles it's different, there isn't this extreme pressure or expectation to get married. And womans worth is determined by her martial status and a mans is not and that's something he just couldn't understand. Yes it hurt him that he and his wife divorced but it didn't define him, but for her and Plath and Sexton when they left their husbands there was a stigma of FAILURE places upon them despite all their academic and literary success they were less than because their couldn't stay married. It's tragic. 

Is the role in life Plath and Sexton were expected to fill comparable to the role that Lowell also filled? If there a gender to topics in poetry and in suffering? Does the death of the authors or the way that they died change the way their poetry is read? 

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