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Sylvia Plath Since her death and more especially since the publications of her posthumous collections of poetry Sylvia Plath has become a legendary figure and like so many such figures inspires other writers to write about her The woman who learned the craft of poetry the hard way playing with words and sentence structures has become a muse in her own right As more and more of her writing becomes available the poems the journals the stories and the letters so the response of readers from different generations changes though the central image of the woman poet who died young remains intact No doubt more texts will steadily be made available to readers ad future generations will continue to alter their impressions as those texts appear At one point Sylvia Plath apparently planned to gather her magnificent bee poems under the title heading Bees She had envisioned a formal sequence much like the then-unpublished Poem For A Birthday in which the controversial I of Plaths poetry is regressed to the primeval place of origin dissolved and reassembled again in The Stones enacting the obsessive Plathian psychodrama of death and transfiguration Here again in Bees Plath sets out on a similar journey and emerges triumphantly as a murderous queen bee With the first poem The Bee Meeting this redemptive conceit and the grand plan of a sequence seems however embryonic at best in the poets mind -she gives us instead a devastating portrayal of her situation the dissolution of her marriage her sense of abandonment jealousy isolation guilt and sexual obsolescence and absorbs the reader in the relentless psychological pull of her own desire for death As the poem begins an unknown mysterious catastrophe seems to have occurred rendering I a veritable amnesiac who can only ask frightened frantic questions Who Which What Why stripped not only of knowledge but of protection - nude as a chicken neck in her sleeveless
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