Sylvia Plath was an American poet best known for her novel The Bell Jar, and for her poetry collections The Colossus and Ariel. Sylvia Plath was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 27, 1932. Sylvia Plath was a gifted and troubled poet, known for the confessional style of her work. Her interest in writing emerged at an early age, and she started out by keeping a journal. After publishing a number of works, Plath won a scholarship to Smith College in 1950.While she was a student, Sylvia Plath spent time in New York City during the summer of 1953 working for Mademoiselle magazine as a guest editor. Soon after, Plath tried to kill herself by taking sleeping pills. She eventually recovered, having received treatment during a stay in a mental health facility. Plath returned to Smith and finished her degree in 1955. A Fulbright Fellowship brought Sylvia Plath to Cambridge University in England. While studying at the university’s Newnham College, she met the poet Ted Hughes. The two married in 1956 and had a stormy relationship. In 1957, Plath spent time in Massachusetts to study with poet Robert Lowell and met fellow poet and student Ann Sexton. She also taught English at Smith College around that same time. Plath returned to England in 1959.
A poet on the rise, Sylvia Plath had her first collection of poetry, The Colossus, published in England in 1960. That same year, she gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Freida. Two years later, Plath and Hughes welcomed a second child, a son named Nicholas. Unfortunately, the couple’s marriage was failing apart. After Hughes left her for another woman in 1962, Sylvia Plath fell into a deep depression. Struggling with her mental illness, she wrote The Bell Jar (1963), her only novel, which was based on her life and deals with one young woman’s mental breakdown. Plath published the novel under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. She also created the poems that would make up the collection Ariel (1965), which was released after her death. Sylvia Plath committed suicide on February 11, 1963.Against the wishes of fans and admirers of Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes became her literary executor after her death. While there has been some speculation about how he handled her papers and her image, he did edit what is considered by many to her greatest work, Ariel. It featured several of her most well-known poems, including “Daddy” and “Lady Lazarus.” He continued to produce new collections of Plath’s works. Sylvia Plath won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for Collected Poems. She is still a highly regarded and much studied poet to this day. The story of Sylvia Plath—her troubled life and tragic death—was the basis for the 2003 biopic Sylvia starring Gwyneth Paltrow in the title role.
I chose to do my research on Langston Hughes because he wrote some of my favorite poems. Those poems being ” I too” and “Harlem ( A dream deferred ). Langston Hughes, fully named James Mercer Langston Hughes was born on Febuary 1st on 1901 in Joplin Missouri. Langston wrote his first poem in 1921 called ” The Negro speaks of Rivers” which won an Coretta Scott King Book award in 2010 and was meet with great praise back in the day. One aspect of Langston Hughes life that caught my attention that i previously didn’t’t know was him being homosexual. Langston would keep his sexuality and even his life private and would hint at his homosexuality in his poems, He did this to follow in the steps of his “Literary hero” Walt Whitman who was known as the father of Free verse. Arnold Rampersad who was Langston Hughes Biographer wrote this about him “Hughes found some young men, especially dark-skinned men, appealing and sexually fascinating.”
One of Langston Hughes most popular works “Let America be America again” is a poem about the dreams of lower classed citizens and their disadvantages not being realized but theres still hope that one day their wishes will come true. Another type of work that Langston Hughes wrote besides poetry was a novel called “Not without laughter” The book was successful enough to make Langston pursue a permanent career in writing. He then wrote a collection of short stories named “The ways of white folks” On May 22 1967, Langston Hughes passed away due to complications from abdominal surgery.
Elizabeth Acevedo was born in New York City, she is the daughter of immigrants born in the Dominican Republic and the youngest child and only daughter. Elizabeth Acevedo received a Ba in Performing arts from George Washington University, she also received MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland. In her own words she proudly talks about her accomplishments not because she wants to show off but because she likes to give respect to all of her academic work. She feels that writing and performing help her understand herself better and the world. Elizabeth has been on television, given TEDtalks and took time to travel around the world. She does not only focus on poetry, but she also has written fiction stories.
The way Elizabeth got involved with poetry was because she loved to come up with songs but never felt like she had a great voice to become a singer, so she turned to hip hop and wanted to try rapping. With rapping in mind, she discovered poetry slams which also lead her to publishing fiction work. Some of her achievements in life was winning a National Poetry Slam. Her debut NovelThe Poet X (2018), won the National Book Award. Some of her favorite writers are Julia Alvarex, Lucille Clifton and Gloria Anzaldua.
November 28, 2018
The Candian novelist-poet Margaret Atwood was born on November 18, 1939, in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. She was the second of the three children father Carl Atwood and mother Margaret Dorthey Atwood produced. Due to her father being an entomologist Margaret spent the majority of her childhood in the wilderness. Being exposed to the wilderness inspired her to start writing at the age of six, which she wrote plays and poems, etc. At age of sixteen, she came to the realization that becoming a writer would be the career path she chooses. She graduated in 1957 at Leaside high school and attended Victoria University where she continued to write. In 1962 she obtained her master’s from Radcliffe, although she strides for her doctorate for almost two years she did not complete. In 1976 she gave birth to her daughter Eleanor jess Attwood Gibson to an American writer Graeme Gibson.
Her writing granted Margaret with some amazing awards that depicted her hard work. Receiving more than fifty awards such as Governor General’s award, Booker Prize, Giller Prize, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Hammett Prize, and much more. Some of her most famous works are The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin, including her poetry collection Double Persephone, The Circle Game and The Animals in that country. She often writes about human rights and many can describe her works to be gothic. With a gothic essence, many find her work to alluring and truthful while keeping a notion of darkness. Margaret Atwood carries on as she is well into her late seventies.
The Lovely Alicia Ostriker was born here in Brooklyn , New York On November 11th 1937. Mrs. Ostriker is a women of many talents besides poetry, she is a scholar and author. Some of her work are “ For the love of God: the bible as an open book”, “Dancing at the devil’s party: Essays on poetry, politics, and the erotic”, “ The Book of seventy”,and “Stealing the language: the emergence of women’s poetry in America” this being her earlier work. Mrs. Ostriker was well known for her feminist writing and poetry.
In a interview by Contemporary Authors, Alicia Ostriker speaks on people who doesn’t know work ask what she writes about, her response was very interesting. She said “ I write about love, sex, death, violence, family, politics, religion, friendships, painters and paintings, the body in sickness and health, joy and pain. “. She goes on to say that she tries her best not to write the same poem over and over again. She tries to challenge herself and write things that she is not use to and what she fears to write. When reading that drew me to choosing her as my poet to write on beside her being from Brooklyn, New York. She loves the challenge of writing poetry rather than an essay or literary criticism which she more or less knows what she is doing, but she describes poetry as “ crawling in the dark”. Over the years, Alicia Ostriker was recognized for talent; she was rewarded being elected Chancellor of the academy of American poets in 2015 and her recent accomplishment in 2018 being named New York State Poet.
Poetry Foudation, “Alicia Ostricker” , https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/alicia-ostriker Accessed November 27, 2018
Poets.org, “Sam Hamhill” , https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/alicia-ostriker Published April 24, 2018; Accessed November 27, 2018
Andrew Grace is the poet that I chose to write about because of my interest in his poem called “Not a mile”; and I also find him very relatable as a person. Grace grew up in Illinois on a farm right outside of the town Urbana where he lived with third-generation farming family. Growing up, Grace’s main interest was punk rock music. His intentions weren’t really focused on becoming a poet because he hadn’t known for sure if that was what he wanted to do however he claimed that he was somehow hoping to be a poet at some point in his life, since living on the farm, he always felt a void that needed to be filled in and now as a poet and having a way of expressing his thoughts, he has been able to fill that void. Grace recalled only reading three poems his whole life before attending college. Grace attended Kenyon College in 1977 where he studied poetry, with little knowledge of what it entails. While in college, his father died which pushed him even further into poetry; additionally, the loss of his father became his driving force to pursue this career. While attending Kenyon college he met his wife in his junior year who he now has formed a family with, with the addition of their daughter. According to his biography, the book “Sancta” is one his most famous works which was published in 2012, a book that is about the landscape that he grew up in. His work had also been recognized by many famous poets such as Duncan, Eigner, Oppen, Bronk, Niedecker, Revell, Giscombe, Gizzi, and Hillman. When describing himself, Grace seems to be in disbelief at how far he has come in his career. He now has a PhD and is a candidate at the University of Cincinnati. I think that Andrew Grace is a phenomenal poet and I can see why other readers like myself would be drawn to his work; not only he came from a small and became very successful, but he was able to fill an emotional void with a fulfilling career by following his passion which makes him even more relatable. As a reader that’s from a small town as well, reading his biography made me feel like I can accomplish anything that I put my mind to and know that other readers may feel the same way. It’s also an example of how setbacks can sometimes be a push; the same way his father’s death motivated him to achieve his goals.
“Sancta.” Ahsahta Press, ahsahtapress.org/book/andrew-grace/.
Margaret Atwood was born on November 18, 1939 in Ottawa, Canada. She is currently 79 years old. In her early life, she did not go to school full time because her father was an entomologist so “she [spent] most of her childhood in the backwoods of Quebec.” Despite this, she had great interest in writing, even as a young child. At the age of 16, after going to school full-time from 8th grade, she decided to pursue her writing career. In 1962, her book “Double Persephone” was published and the book won the E.J.Pratt award. Another famous work of hers is “The Handmaid’s Tale.” It has a movie and TV adaptation and is very popular. Then, in 1962, she got her master’s degree from Harvard Radcliffe College. One of Margaret’s most famous book is “The Circle Game,” which was published in 1964. After this, she started to write all kinds of books, like novels, short stories, screenplays, and etc. A lot of Margaret’s books would revolve around a woman since Margaret is a feminist, for example, “The Edible Women” and ”Surfacing.” In 1968, she married her later ex-husband Jim Polk and they would later divorce in 1973. Then, she married her present husband, Graeme Gibson, and they had a daughter together. Some of her poems include “Morning in the the Burned House” and “Power Politics.” She also wrote novels, such as “ Cat’s Eye” and “Surfacing”. Essays that Margaret wrote include “Moving Targets: Writing with Intent” and “Curious Pursuits:Occasional Writing.” Margaret’s works have won her many awards.
- “Who Is Margaret Atwood? Everything You Need to Know.” Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline, www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/margaret-eleanor-atwood-2238.php.
- Poetry Foundation. (2018). Margaret Atwood. [online] Available at: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/margaret-atwood [Accessed 27 Nov. 2018].
Sylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932, in Boston, Massachusetts. Sylvia Plath was a gifted and troubled poet, known for the confessional style of her work. Her interest in writing came at an early age, and she started out by keeping a journal. After publishing a number of poems, Plath won a scholarship to Smith College in 1950.While she was a student, Sylvia Plath spent time in New York City during the summer of 1953 working for Mademoiselle magazine as a guest editor. Soon after, Plath tried to kill herself by taking sleeping pills. She eventually recovered, having received treatment during a stay in a mental health facility. Plath returned to Smith and finished her degree in 1955. A Fulbright Fellowship brought Sylvia Plath to Cambridge University in England. While studying at the university’s Newnham College, she met the poet Ted Hughes. The two married in 1956 and had a stormy relationship. She also taught English at Smith College around that same time. Plath returned to England in 1959.A poet on the rise, Sylvia Plath had her first collection of poetry, The Colossus, published in England in 1960. That same year, she gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Freida. Two years later, Plath and Hughes welcomed a second child, a son named Nicholas. Unfortunately, the couple’s marriage was failing apart. After Hughes left her for another woman in 1962, Sylvia Plath fell into a deep depression. Struggling with her mental illness, she wrote The Bell Jar (1963), her only novel, which was based on her life and deals with one young woman’s mental breakdown. Plath published the novel under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. She also created the poems that would make up the collection Ariel (1965), which was released after her death. Sylvia Plath committed suicide on February 11, 1963.Against the wishes of some admirers of Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes became her literary executor after her death. While there has been some speculation about how he handled her papers and her image, he did edit what is considered by many to be her greatest work, Ariel. It featured several of her most well-known poems, including “Daddy” and “Lady Lazarus.” He continued to produce new collections of Plath’s works. Sylvia Plath won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for Collected Poems. She is still a highly regarded and much studied poet to this day.
Sylvia Plath. Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 28 Apr. 2017, www.biography.com/people/sylvia-plath-9442550.
Andrew Grace grew up in a farm family in the out skirts of Urbana, Illinois. After realizing that the setting of the never ending crops that the farm lifestyle provided wasn’t really that appealing to him, he found himself constantly moving west until found himself living most of his early years in the Bay area of California. Most of Andrew’s early poetry was about the landscape he grew up in. Andrew currently resides in Ohio as a PHD candidate (it’s safe to say that he has gotten it by now considering that it was 2012 at the time of him stating that) with his wife, Tory Weber, and daughter, Lily. He received his education from Kenyon College, Washington University, and University of Cincinnati, but gives credit for most of his poetry knowledge from shopping at the bookstores in Berkeley. Andrew has been a visiting professor for many english classes at Kenyon college. Poetry came to his support more than ever after his father past away from a farm accident, during his teenage years. Many poets were a great influence to Andrew including, Eigner, Oppen, Niedecker, Giscombe, and Hillman. As a punk rock fan in his adolescent years, punk rock also had some what of an influence sprinkled into Andrew’s writing. Andrew’s recent acceptance of publication of his second book by the Ohio State University Press, and many poem features including, Boston Review and Iowa Review just shows how much of a successful writer Andrew Grace is.
- “Sancta.” Ahsahta Press, https://ahsahtapress.org/book/andrew-grace/. Accessed 28 Nov. 2018.
- Andy Grace. https://www.kenyon.edu/directories/campus-directory/biography/andy-grace/. Accessed 28 Nov. 2018.
Julia Alvarez is a 68 year old poet and novelist. She was born in New York but her parents moved back to Dominican Republic when she was a child. She was raised in Dominican Republic, but in 1960 her family returned to New York. Julia Alvarez had to learn English and embrace a new culture which became a hassle for her. Most of her poems are about her experience of fitting in both American and Dominican culture. She is most known for ‘How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents’, in which she discusses the struggles her family had to face after migrating to United states from Dominican Republic. The novel has fifteen stories mentioning the lives of her four sister sisters and her parents. Another novel she is very known for was the ‘Time of Butterflies’. The novel was published in English in 1994 and in Spanish in 2001, it described the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo (Dominican politician). Julia Alvarez continued to write more famous poems and novels relating to her homeland. She received many grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram Foundation. Alvarez wrote outstanding multicultural literatures expressing her feelings on immigration reminiscing her childhood.