A Short Course: Rediscovering Sylvia Plath – April 18 to May 22

In this Short Course, we’ll close-read Plath’s poetry, to learn from her singularity. We’ll begin with an overview of Plath’s poetry leading up to her creative breakthrough, then focus the remaining four sessions on close reading poems from her posthumous, best-known book Ariel. We’ll try to understand together where she came from, her essential innovations, and her effect on the poetry that came after her. Was she truly a “confessional” poet? How does she make meaning from the turmoil of her life, and the time in which she wrote? What were her poetic innovations? How can we understand her poems as something more than mere autobiography? What aspects of her poetry continue to influence poems today? In addition to the poems from Ariel and after, we’ll look at drafts of her poems from her archives, to explore her writing process, so that we can learn from her creative process.

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