>>6402271 Q: Where do you stand on this dispute that's come up again, with the publication of "Birthday Letters," between feminists and Ted Hughes over the death of Sylvia Plath?
Bloom: Since I don't think either of them on their best day could write a poem to save themselves, I'd rather not talk about it.
Q: Really, you think neither of them is a worthy poet?
Bloom: No. I don't think either of them has ever written a poem. I'm sorry.
Q: I'm glad to hear you say that, because I never got Sylvia Plath.
Bloom: At her best there's some controlled hysteria. There's also a lot of uncontrolled hysteria. I don't take her seriously as a poet. I'm sorry. I'm aware that 90 percent of people these days will disagree, but then what does that matter? We are at a time when the standards of public taste and judgment in and out of the universities is abysmal. In fact, that is an understatement of the most extraordinary sort. To call it abysmal is almost absurd. It's extravagantly bad.
Not a big fan of Plath myself but his dismissal of both her and Hughes seems pretty worthless.
>>6402271 Oddly, this is from "Bloom's Major Poets: Sylvia Plath":
This volume contains fierce partisans of Plath, among whom the formidable Jacqueline Rose is the most passionate. There are also a few dissenters, who find Plath to be racist or a touch too anxious to appropriate the Holocaust for her personal purposes. I pass on such matters; for me the issue is elsewhere, and is always aesthetic:
Herr God, Herr Lucifer Beware Beware Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air.
I cite the High Modernist critic Hugh Kenner, a close reader of Pound, Eliot, and Joyce:
"The death poems—say a third of Ariel—are bad for anyone’s soul. They give a look of literary respectability to voyeurist passions: no gain for poetry, nor for her."
That seems (to me) very difficult to refute, unless you are a glutton for the confessional mode. Popular poetry is an ally of true confessions, an alliance that never will end.
As for minute joys: as I was saying: do you realize the illicit sensuous delight I get from picking my nose? I always have, ever since I was a child–there are so many subtle variations of sensation. A delicate, pointed-nailed fifth finger can catch under dry scabs and flakes of mucous in the nostril and draw them out to be looked at, crumbled between fingers, and flicked to the floor in minute crusts. Or a heavier, more determined forefinger can reach up and smear down-and-out the soft, resilient, elastic greenish-yellow smallish blobs of mucous, roll them round and jelly-like between thumb and forefinger, and spread them on the under surface of a desk or chair where they will harden into organic crusts. How many desks and chairs have I thus secretively befouled since childhood? Or sometimes there will be blood mingled with the mucous in dry brown scabs, or bright sudden wet red on the finger that scraped too rudely the nasal membranes. God, what a sexual satisfaction! It is absorbing to look with new sudden eyes on the old worn habits: to see a sudden luxurious and pestilential “snot green sea”, and shiver with the shock of recognition.
Sylvia Plath, who killed herself early in 1963 at age thirty, is widely regarded as a major poet, particularly in her posthumously pub- lished volume Ariel (1965). It is unwise to quarrel with Plath’s parti- sans, because one can never be sure precisely what the disagreement concerns. I have just reread Ariel, and confess myself moved by the quality of pathos the book evokes. And yet I remain unpersuaded that Ariel is a permanent work; that is, poetry of authentic eminence. American poetry in the twentieth century is immensely rich in women of genius: Gertrude Stein, Hilda Doolittle, Marianne Moore, Louise Bogan, Léonie Adams, Laura Riding, Elizabeth Bishop, May Swenson, Amy Clampitt, and several living poets. If one adds the great Canadian poet Anne Carson—who is the peer of any poet now alive—one can say that an extraordinary standard has been set. By that measure, Plath is scarcely to be described as more than sincere.
And yet Plath clearly answers a need, neither aesthetic nor cogni- tive, but profoundly affective. In that sense, she remains a represen- tative writer and the phenomenon of her popularity is worthy of critical meditation. Perhaps she should be consigned to the category of popular poetry, with the very different (and wonderfully good- natured) Maya Angelou. Since Plath’s masters included Stevens, Auden, and Roethke, while Angelou relies upon black folk poetry, my comparison must seem initially a little strange. But surely what matters about Plath, as about Angelou, is the audience. These are poems for people who don’t read poems, though in Plath’s case one must add feminist ideologues, who regard her as an exemplary martyr to patriarchal nastiness.
>>6402943 >In the Western Canon there are more authors in yiddish that in Spanish. He includes 37 Spanish language authors from the 20th century alone, and only 12 Yiddish language. The only reason he includes so many Yiddish works is because Yiddish his first language, he grew up reading them, and he knows them well. If Spanish were his first language, there'd probably be at least twice as many Spanish-language authors, and same for French, German, etc.
You know she was a slut eh? Probably loved to suck dick and take it in the ass. In her letters she's always talking to her mom about problems with her latest boytoy. She had a rep as a lady of the town, even back then.
>>6401929 If you were somewhat disappointed by the end, then she did her job well. All throughout the novel, she constantly romanticizes everything and then tears it down as worthless or mundane. Oh, I'm a poet living in New York, and I get to meet famous editors and date a foreigner and talk about fashion. Except that the editors are pompous twats, the communist boyfriend isn't all that exciting, the fashion is bland and pretentious, and she never actually writes anything. So she goes back home. She's going to read Finnegan's Wake and write a dissertation on Joyce, but its incomprehensible and she can't even make it past the first page. So she'll write a novel and show this Joyce asshole how to string a sentence together, but she struggles to put words on the page. So she builds up this deep depression and oh woe is me I am such a martyr and I should just kill myself and when she finally gets around to doing that, she can't even get it right. When she wakes up from her coma, her face is all fucked up and she's stuck in the loony-bin. Here's where all that romanticism really comes crashing down. First page, what's the worst thing in the world? Electrocution. What's the doctor's prescription? Electro-shock therapy. And you know what? It is the worst thing in the world! It's absolute torture. Then she actually get's it done right. And you know what? It's not so bad. She hardly feels it and it makes her feel better. And that one girl that she never really liked kills herself, and there's not even mourning. She's just gone. So after losing her virginity and a lot of blood, she decides, hey, fuck my pretentious bullshit whining, I'll just get married and have kids. To a reader who hasn't really been paying attention, that sounds like sacrilege. She swore she'd never do it, why would she go out and get married? Fuck the patriarchy. Blargity blargity blarg. All those people are still stuck looking through the bell jar. They think their so wise with their cynical point of view, but their warped image of life paints little things bigger than they are and important things smaller.
>>6403267 Never been to /pol/ myself, but it's not a conspiracy. I can tell you've never been involved in academia anywhere (or you attend somewhere like Yale, Harvard, or Oxford, which is highly unlikely) because if you were you'd know that "progressive" ideologues are very relevant in academic environments at the moment and have been gaining momentum since the late sixties. Whether this is for better or worse is up to you, but it's hardly a conspiracy. Do you even read anything contemporary? Even a glance at any magazine or journal would tell you this.
>>6401830 I read some poems from Ariel in high school, I liked them then, but i had a different view on poetry back then (i.e. just express yourself). But looking back, while she's good at expressing herself, it's not good poetry. The resentment, the inconsequential rage, the self-loathing, it gets irritating, especially since all she could write about was herself.
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