Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Lady Lazarus" by Sylvia Plath, Poet of the Month

The Songs of Eretz Poetry Review Poem of the Day for November 19, 2014 is "Lady Lazarus" by Sylvia Plath, Poet of the Month.  The text of the poem may be found here:  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178961.  A biography of Ms. Path and references may be found here:  http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-songs-of-eretz-poet-of-month-for.html.

"Lady Lazarus" consists of twenty-eight stanzas of three lines each.  Many, but not all, of the stanzas could be classified as formal tercets, as there are rhymes and/or strong assonances and/or consonances that connect them.  The rhythm is irregular.

Sylvia Plath committed suicide when she was thirty.  In the seventh stanza, the speaker reveals that she is also thirty.  The first stanza refers to previous suicide attempts, one every ten years.  Plath attempted suicide at nineteen, and her father died suddenly when Plath was eight, a trauma which triggered a profound depression.  So, it is reasonable to conclude that Plath is the speaker.  Chillingly, it is perhaps also reasonable to conclude that "Lady Lazarus" is a kind of suicide note.

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