This month at One Clover & A Bee Pokey wrote about Sylvia Plath’s, The Bed Book. Yes, reader, the Queen of Darkness also wrote four kid’s books!
The Bed Book has some of Plath’s signature skill and style, and Pokey wishes she’d discovered it during those aeons when her babies didn’t sleep. I don’t know if it would have helped them, but Pokey would at least have had some respite from Goodnight Moon! (Please, no hate mail. There’s nothing wrong with GM, but familiarity doth breed contempt, especially at 3am.)
The Bed Book is one of the few examples of who Plath might have been as a Mother And… had she not suffered from depression compounded with the clusterf*ck of trying to exist as a woman/writer/mother/wife in the suffocating, pre-feminist 50’s and 60’s. It’s beautiful to imagine her enjoying her children—some light breaking through the clouds—as she struggled with her mounting frustration and despair.
Coincidentally, my daughter has just discovered Plath’s poetry and of course, the quintessential dark-angst-rite-of-passage for so many of us as young women, The Bell Jar. It kind of scares Pokey that she’s reading it, and I’m struck by the weird conjunction, the supernatural bookendedness of my finding The Bed Book and her The Bell Jar at precisely the same time.
You know what this means, don’t you? Guess what Pokey will be rereading very soon?
Pokey could go on and on about Plath. She’s gone in and out of fashion, and like with Dickinson, it can be hard to see Plath through the thick fog of her mythology. But ultimately, the work is all the truth we have. And Pokey, for one, is glad that truth is in the world. Those poems still knock me out.
Did you read The Bell Jar? Plath? How old were you and what did it feel like for you? Would you want your daughter reading it? And how about those boys? Would it make any sense to them?
BTW, the illustration of Plath is by Summer Pierre–I just discovered her blog–you should check it out!