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By now, you’ve read Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy,” and I’m curious how you feel about i
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By now, you’ve read Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy,” and I’m curious how you feel about it. Personally, I think it’s brilliant. Maybe I am a little sinister. There is just so much emotion, and the comparisons between her father, husband, Hitler, a vampire, etc. are powerful. There are problems, however, with confessional poetry. For example, a Jewish person wouldn’t appreciate the comparison of a woman’s relationship with her father to that of the holocaust. Another example might be Nick Saban comparing losing a football game to 9/11 (that really happened!).
Plath herself would probably argue that confessional poetry is just a thought process, not an actual action. Think about confession in the Catholic church. It’s not supposed to be held against you; it’s between you, the priest, and God. Theoretically, you cannot police thoughts, although in 2020’s cancel culture we might disagree. If you were to dream something crazy and write it down/post it, would you expect people to respect your “art,” or would you just prepare yourself for the blow back? Maybe you would keep it to yourself. What if the art sparks a more meaningful conversation, even if it’s controversial or has elements that may be offensive?
Take a minute and look up a NYC cop named Gilberto Valle. By day, he was a husband and father. At night, he wrote creepy stories about eating women. It’s a sick fetish. One of the women he wrote about eating actually found his fantasy on the internet. He was arrested for plotting to kidnap, torture, and eat her, even though he only posted his fantasy on a website. The man lost everything and was convicted as well. He has since published horror novels with decent success, and he still hasn’t committed any other crime (if a crime is writing a story on the internet). Is this confessional writing? Should it be banned?
Jump in where you want: the poem, Plath herself, Ted and Sylvia’s relationship, Confessional writing, creepy cannibal cop. Let’s talk it out.