I am kind of obsessed with exploring the lives and writing of some really cool ladies. Sylvia Plath tops that list right now and I actually have an entire Plath reading list here on the blog. I lovingly refer to this as The Plath Project. However, there are other ladies that I think are cool as hell and really interest me: Edna St. Vincent Millay, Anne Sexton, Shirley Jackson, Doris Lessing, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Dorothy Parker. It is sort of odd that some of these are poets since I am not a huge poetry fan … mostly because I understand very little about poetry in general. Anyway, I am going to be reading a biography about each of these women along with some of their work. I think Dorothy Parker may pull ahead as a favorite due to her amazing wit. Are any of these ladies among your favorites?
|A Self Portrait Rendered by Anne|
“Lonliness is a terrible thing and to be alone with people can be pretty horrible.”
On suicide: “There are those that are killed and the few that kill and then the other kind, those that do both at once.” At one point in a letter to Anne Clark, a friend who was also a therapist, she is again writing about the concept of suicide and then suddenly says: “Sandy and Les are coming over for a drink. I shall now go out to new kitchen and prepare shrimp and cocktail sauce.” What a contrast.
“Oh, I really believe in God – it’s Christ that boggles the mind.”
“But you got only praise. But I know, praise can be heavy too. Yes. I understand.”
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply;
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone;
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.
What is your favorite poet? What is your favorite poem?
I stopped into Borders today and just had to purchase the November issue of Vanity Fair as the cover featured Marilyn Monroe and promised a look into her personal diaries. Sam Kashner’s article, “Marilyn and Her Monsters”, contained excerpts from a book that is being published this fall entitled Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, and Letters by Marilyn Monroe. (This will certainly be on the Christmas wishlist…if I can wait that long.) The article also revealed a beautiful photo spread of Monroe and of various pages written in her own hand. Kashner detailed that she was often photographed with her books such as in the photograph below:
I only wish I had been able to actually read the titles of all the books on her shelf; however I did see a copy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. In any event it appears that books, reading, and writing may have been a refuge for the haunted star. As someone who wrestles with insomnia I was drawn to this excerpt…Monroe, reported to have also suffered from insomnia, writes:
on the screen of pitch blackness
comes/reappears the shapes of monsters
my most steadfast companions…
and the world is sleeping
ah peace I need you – even a peaceful monster.
I also picked up a copy of Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds. This novel was published in 1977 and was a huge bestseller. I think I may add this to my project reading list.
Now…I am off to read some more Anne Frank…