Thursday, December 17, 2015

Quoted: Katheen Spivack on Sylvia Plath's and Anne Sexton's rage

Anger, helplessness, and a sense of not fulfilling societal gender expectations were overwhelming to these poets. And, most forbidden to women, especially during that postwar period, was the expression of rage. Rage was a man’s prerogative. But these women poets forced to pretend to suppress the masculine/achieving part of themselves to please others, were full of rage. We hear it in the suppressed teeth-clenching anger even in Sylvia’s early poems. We see it in all the Anne-as-beautiful-victim poems. In all these women poets, and also in earlier ones such as Louise Bogan and Edna St. Vincent Millay. The expression of rage was forbidden. Rage had to be disguised.
From With Robert Lowell and His Circle.