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Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was an American poet, novelist, and writer of short stories. Her most notable achievements came in the genre of confessional poetry, which often reflected her intense emotions and her battle with depression. Although her career and life were complicated, she won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize and remains a popular and widely studied poet.

Fast Facts: Sylvia Plath

  • Known For: American poet and author
  • Born: October 27, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Parents: Otto Plath and Aurelia Schober Plath
  • Died: February 11, 1963 in London, England
  • Spouse: Ted Hughes (m, 1956)
  • Children: Frieda and Nicholas Hughes
  • Education: Smith College and Cambridge University
  • Selected Works: The Colossus (1960), The Bell Jar (1963), Ariel (1965), Winter Trees (1971), Crossing the Water (1971)
  • Awards: Fulbright Scholarship (1955), Glascock Prize (1955), Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1982)
  • Notable Quote: “I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.”

The Poetry of Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

When a lot of people think about Sylvia Plath, they think about her struggles with mental illness and her eventual suicide. Her actual work can get lost in the shuffle a bit, so this video really tries to focus on the poetry. You'll learn about Sylvia Plath's role as a feminist poet, and you'll also learn about her extraordinary ability to recreate the experiences of real life in beautiful and relatable way.

SOURCE: Crash Course Literature 216 (2014), The Poetry of Sylvia Plath, Duration: 11:17 mins; URL: