Fifty years ago today, Sylvia Plath finished a poem that would go on to become one her most famous. It was called “Daddy”. On that day, she wrote to her mother, describing the process:
Every morning, when my sleeping pill wears off, I am up about five, in my study with coffee, writing like mad—have managed a poem a day before breakfast. All book poems. Terrific stuff, as though domesticity had choked me.
Having been enamored with Plath’s woefully short and tumultuous life for practically forever, we at VIII Nothing are proud to celebrate the birthday of one of the finest poems of the twentieth century.
For those interested (and you should be!), the Paris Review, which is reliably excellent, has a long and in-depth piece up on Plath and Ariel and the creation of “Daddy”—among a lot of other things. It’s a good read, and managed to teach us a few things about Plath’s life (and here we thought we were experts all along).
And if you’ve never read the poem, for God’s sake, hurry the hell up and do it already.