Mournful teenage poetesses and literature nerds light a candle; today would have been the incomparable Sylvia Plath’s 80th birthday. Though depressed for much of her life, Plath’s incisive poetry and prose continues to sink its teeth into new generations of young people, and it’s no wonder. Her voice is clear and resounding, even in its confusion, painfully and beautifully true in equal measure. To honor the tortured, influential poet, we’ve put together a few of her musings on the nature of life, from the inspirational and upbeat to the deeply black. After the jump, immerse yourself in Sylvia’s world, and join us in being grateful we had her, even for a short while.
“I love people. Everybody. I love them, I think, as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me. My love’s not impersonal yet not wholly subjective either. I would like to be everyone, a cripple, a dying man, a whore, and then come back to write about my thoughts, my emotions, as that person. But I am not omniscient. I have to live my life, and it is the only one I’ll ever have. And you cannot regard your own life with objective curiosity all the time.” From The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, dated July 7, 1950
“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously near to wanting nothing.” From a draft of a letter to Richard Sassoon, December 1955