Meet the Poets: Sylvia Plath

 

Poet Sylvia Plath’s grave at St.Thomas’ Churchyard, Heptonstall, Yorkshire, England, UK

Sylvia Plath
1982 Pulitzer Prize Poetry

Mad Girl’s Love Song”

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

by Sylvia Plath
Source of Poem: Hello & Poetry

Smith College and Newnham College, Cambridge

Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was an American poet, novelist and short-story writer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College, Cambridge before receiving acclaim as a professional poet and writer. She married fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956 and they lived together first in the United States and then England, having two children together: Frieda and Nicholas. Following a long struggle with depression and a marital separation, Plath committed suicide in 1963. Controversy continues to surround the events of her life and death, as well as her writing and legacy.

The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel

Plath is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and is best known for her two published collections: The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel.

Won Pulitzer Prize Posthumously

In 1982, she became the first poet to win a Pulitzer Prize posthumously, for The Collected Poems. She also wrote The Bell Jar, a semi-autobiographical novel published shortly before her death.

For more information about Sylvia Plath: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_Plath

Photo Source: Photo Used Under a Creative Commons 2.0 License from the Photographer

Meet the Poets: W.S. Merwin

W.S. Merwin
1971, 2009 Pulitzer Prize Poetry
2010 United States Poet Laureate

“Any work of art makes one very simple demand on anyone who genuinely wants to get in touch with it. And that is to stop. You’ve got to stop what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, and what you’re expecting and just be there for the poem for however long it takes.” — W.S. Merwin.

30+ books of Poetry, Translation, and Prose

William Stanley Merwin (September 30, 1927 – March 15, 2019) is an American poet, credited with over 30 books of poetry, translation and prose. During the 1960s anti-war movement, Merwin’s unique craft was thematically characterized by indirect, unpunctuated narration.

Buddhist philosophy and Deep Ecology Influences

In the 1980s and 1990s, Merwin’s writing influence derived from his interest in Buddhist philosophy and deep ecology. Residing in Hawaii, he writes prolifically and is dedicated to the restoration of the islands’ rainforests.

Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1971 and 2009)

Merwin has received many honors, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in both 1971 and 2009) and the Tanning Prize, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Academy of American Poets, as well as the Golden Wreath of the Struga Poetry Evenings.

United States Poet Laureate 2010

In 2010, the Library of Congress named Merwin the seventeenth United States Poet Laureate to replace the outgoing Kay Ryan. Note: Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—commonly referred to as the United States Poet Laureate or Poet Laureate of the United States.

More information can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._S._Merwin

Photo Source: Fair use of book cover of ” W.S. Merwin: Selected Poems.”

Meet the Poets: Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg NYWTS

Carl Sandburg
1919, 1951 Pulitzer Prize Poetry
1940 Pulitzer Prize History

His Own Style

“I make it clear why I write as I do and why other poets write as they do. After hundreds of experiments, I decided to go my own way in style and see what would happen.” – Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and another for his history, a biography of Abraham Lincoln.

Influence of Poetry Magazine

Sandburg was almost unknown to the literary world when, in 1914, a group of his poems appeared in the nationally circulated Poetry magazine.

Chicago Poems, Cornhuskers, and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Two years later his book Chicago Poems was published, and the thirty-eight-year-old author found himself on the brink of a career that would bring him international acclaim.

Sandburg published another volume of poems, Cornhuskers, in 1918, and wrote a searching analysis of the 1919 Chicago race riots. These collections lead to the 1919 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Rootabaga Stories

More poetry followed, along with Rootabaga Stories (1922), a book of fanciful children’s tales.

The Rootabaga Stories prompted Sandburg’s publisher, Alfred Harcourt, to suggest a biography of Abraham Lincoln for children.

The success of Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

Sandburg researched and wrote for three years, producing not a children’s book, but a two-volume biography for adults. His Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, published in 1926, was Sandburg’s first financial success.

Abraham Lincoln: The War Years and the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1940

With the financial success, he moved to a new home on the Michigan dunes and devoted the next several years to complete four more volumes, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940.

Sandburg continued his prolific writing, publishing more poems, a novel, Remembrance Rock, the second volume of folk songs, and an autobiography, Always the Young Strangers.

In 1945 the Sandburg family moved with their herd of prize-winning goats and thousands of books to Flat Rock, North Carolina.

Complete Poems and the Second Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1951

Sandburg’s Complete Poems won him a second Pulitzer Prize in 1951. Sandburg died at his North Carolina home on July 22, 1967. His ashes were returned, as he had requested, to his Galesburg birthplace. In the small Carl Sandburg Park behind the house, his ashes were placed beneath Remembrance Rock, a red granite boulder. Ten years later the ashes of his wife were placed there.


Photo Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carl_Sandburg_NYWTS.jpg
Articles Sources:  Pulitzer Awards 1919, Pulitzer Awards 1940, and Pulitzer Awards 1951

For more on Carl Sandburg see: http://carl-sandburg.com/biography.htm