Women Every Woman Needs to Know: Sylvia Plath

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Name: Sylvia Plath
Occupation: Poet, Novelist, Short Story Writer
Birthday: October 27, 1932
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
Death: February 11, 1963 (age 30)
Place of Death: London, England
Education: Smith College, University of Cambridge, Newnham College
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

• Best known for her her poetry collection Ariel and her semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, which was originally published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas
• Plath wrote poetry from the age of eight, her first poem appearing in the Boston Traveller.
• Plath struggled with depression from a young age. She first attempted suicide when she was 20.
• She spent the next six months in psychiatric care, where she received electric and insulin shock therapy. Her experiences helped inspire The Bell Jar.
• Plath married poet Ted Hughes on June 16, 1956, but their relationship was incredibly stormy.
• In 1957, Plath spent time in Massachusetts to study with poet Robert Lowell. There she met fellow confessional poet and student Ann Sexton.
• Her first poetry collection, The Colossus, was published in 1960.
• In July 1962, Plath discovered Hughes had been having an affair. In September the couple separated.
• Plath was found dead in her kitchen from carbon monoxide poisoning, her head in the oven with the gas on, having sealed the rooms between herself and her sleeping children with wet towels and cloths.
• “When Sylvia Plath’s Ariel was published in the United States in 1966, American women noticed. Not only women who ordinarily read poems, but housewives and mothers whose ambitions had awakened… Here was a woman, superbly trained in her craft, whose final poems uncompromisingly charted female rage, ambivalence, and grief, in a voice with which many women identified.” –Honor Moore
• Plath was portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow in the 2003 biopic Sylvia.
• In 1982, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her posthumous Collected Poems.
• The United States Postal Service introduced a postage stamp featuring Sylvia Plath in 2012.
• Check out her poems “Daddy,” “Lady Lazarus,” “Sheep in Fog,” and The Bell Jar.

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