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Sylvia Plath Bookmark Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

"Dying is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well."

There were always two sides to Sylvia Plath; one successful, beautiful, prolific; the other doubting, despairing. Though a straight-A student, a published poet, and a Fulbright Scholar, she tried unsuccessfully, at the age of 20, to take her own life with sleeping pills.

While her first collection was successful, it was three years later, when her marriage to the British poet Ted Hughes fell apart, that she began to create her most influential work.

Noted as one of the coldest winters on record, and living with her two children in a London flat, Plath began to slide into a terrible depression. Nonetheless she was driven to write as never before. The poems, full of vibrant, if morbid imagery, and employing an almost tactile use of sound, would become some of the most influential of the 20th century's second half. But she had a difficult time finding a publisher at the time. One morning in February, her dark side won out-she gassed herself in her kitchen before the children woke.

Two years after her death, Plath's second collection, Ariel, was published to acclaim. In 1981, her Collected Poems, edited by Hughes, won the Pulitzer.

Sylvia Plath