Sylvia Plath had a saying, regarding writing, which is ironic:

Although you’ve already wasted two hours writing stream-of-consciousness stuff in here when your stream isn’t even much to brag about, after all.

Of course, we have a “Post-Confessionalist” here, (aside from Beth Bachmann)–Olena Kalytiak Davis:

She set to make of nothing most,/better: an everenlightening mark:/ghost gave her this: a piece of flint: that if/you rubbed the right way,/the lightlessness would come down, give up, lift–/and then there would be nothing left to say.

So, on one hand we have one person saying one has wasted time writing in a journal; on the other we have a seemingly calm and straight-forward statement about the effects of writing. So I ask you, reader–is all for naught? Certainly NOT.

Plath is writing in a mode that is clearly influenced by a mood of pessimism, a mood so dense that she fails to realize the density of her ignorance–of course she is wonderful! But she finds herself distraught over spending time writing in a diary than studying for a midterm, and she does recognize this later: that such comparisons are trite in many ways, but she does make it to this point, nonetheless.

Olena has masterfully fabricated a sonnet that says exactly the opposite of Plath; she makes most of nothing -her writing-; she betters it; she attributes it not to inadequacy, but to a gift, a ghost; she finds an icon, or amulet; she uses it to speak the language of the ghost. She says nothing because there is nothing more to say than what the magic has proffered her. Impeccable. Well-written. Narrative.

Plath, I love you, but there are some things even you were not great at, namely, narrative self-expression (journals aside). Daddy does come close though…but check out Berryman or Thomas James for something that reads more like a poem than a journal entry.

Believe me, I love Plath, but…reading her journals (Holiday Present) has been a battle of respect and criticism.



About WickedCultured

👨‍🎓MSW student @USC, Writer✍️, Gamer🎮, Runner🏃‍♂️
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