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  • Writer's pictureNora Curry

Poem of the Week: You're

Sylvia Plath's poetry is often hard to read—if not to interpret, then to stomach. The poet often articulated her suicidal and despondent thoughts through her poems and did not shy away from borderline shocking imagery. In "Daddy," for example, she begins to use language of the Holocaust in addressing a father figure. The oppression Plath felt, most often from the men in her life, feels particularly relevant during Women's History Month. Rather than share Lady Lazarus's declaration that she "eat(s) men like air," though, I'd like to share a poem Plath wrote for her unborn daughter, Frida. It is a somewhat rare moment of hopefulness in Plath's canon: her determination that her daughter will have "her own face on." Such a thought resonates this month, as the current experience of women is considered in light of what has been inherited but also in terms of

how women can forge ahead with their unique identities.


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.

- Sylvia Plath

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