Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath was born on October 27, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts. She is best known for her dramatic, confessional poetry and her tumultuous life, which was reflected by her work. 

From the age of eight, Plath published her first poem in the Boston Herald’s children’s section and was known to keep a journal from the age of eleven. When she was eight years old, Plath’s father, Otto, passed away from complications of diabetes. Her father’s overwhelmingly strict and authoritative nature, as well as his death influenced her future relationships and poetry—especially her sorrowful poem “Daddy.” 

After publishing several literature, Plath earned a scholarship to Smith College in 1950. In the summer of 1953, Plath’s excellency in academia landed her the coveted position as a guest editor at Mademoiselle Magazine in New York City. Her experience at Mademoiselle proved to be disappointing. She spent six months in a mental health facility to receive treatment after attempting suicide.

She returned to school to finish her degree and managed to graduate summa cum laude in 1955. After graduation, she moved to Cambridge, England, on a Fulbright Scholarship. She met English poet, Ted Hughes at a party. They married on June 16, 1956. 

During one of her darkest times she wrote her most famous book, Ariel, which rose her to fame after her death. In 1963, she published The Bell Jar under her pseudonym, Victoria Lucas. The Bell Jar is a semi-autobiographical novel, which reflects the experience she had working at Mademoiselle. Plath told her mother The Bell Jar was ”an autobiographical apprentice work which I had to write in order to free myself from the past.” Fellow confessional poet, Anne Sexton revealed:

“Sylvia and I would talk at length about our first suicide, in detail and in depth—between the free potato chips. Suicide is, after all, the opposite of the poem. Sylvia and I often talked opposites. We talked death with burned-up intensity, both of us drawn to it like moths to an electric lightbulb, sucking on it. She told the story of her first suicide in sweet and loving detail, and her description in ‘The Bell Jar’ is just that same story.”

On February 11, 1963, Plath was found dead at the age of 30 from carbon monoxide poisoning in her kitchen. She placed her head in the oven and turned on the gas. She sealed her children’s room with wet towels and cloths to protect them.

After her death, Hughes became owner of her estate and published three volumes of her work. Much controversy surrounded his inheritance of Plath’s work. He has been accused of burning her last journal, by revealing that, “he did not want her children to have read it.” Plath was the first poet to posthumously earn a Pulitzer Prize. 

Sylvia Plath’s life had become as significant as her work. She is credited to be one of the pioneers of confessional poetry. Plath’s poetry held a strong, violent and sharp imagery. Plath’s literature awakened many women in the 1970s with her use of domestic surrealism. She turned details from her everyday life into the nightmare she experienced inside. Her history is ferociously linked with her literature; her life was raw material for her art. It is unjust to separate the two. Plath had become a voice for women who  felt repressed. She had liberated women by abruptly expressing her dissatisfaction with her domestic life. Her courage to be authentic in the most disturbing way made her the fiercest female author.  

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Last Best Show: Hozier at House of Blues Boston Photos by Ted Fitzgerald

The problem with a monster hit is that you can hear it so many times that you stop really listening.

“If I’m a pagan of the good times, my lover’s the sunlight.”

The lyric is from Hozier’s smash single “Take Me To Church,” which I am fairly certain you have heard more times than you’ve visited your house of worship in the last year, but when the Irish bluesman crooned the words last night during a gripping set at the House of Blues, it took on a different sort of traction. When you see Hozier playing the Song of the Year nominee on TV with Annie Lennox at the Grammys, it’s easy to be swept up in the sprawling scope of the thing.That’s the luxury of the live show – it’s an opportunity to strip away some of the spectacle and see what’s left.

Last night, I was impressed by Hozier’s ability to sing. But what made the biggest impression was the elegance of the songwriter’s voice.

Maybe I’m just the last to notice. After all, Hozier’s self-titled debut album could not have been a much bigger success, and the attending sold-out audience seemed to know and cherish every word of it. During the set, he rifled through a rotation of guitars, each tuned to change the sound just enough to suit his next soulful confession. From the sulking “To Be Alone,” to the love dirge of “In A Week,” and the insistent optimism of “Someone New,” (which he noted was fittingly and “tragically co-written by an ex-girlfriend,”) Hozier showcased a honed capacity to marry an intimate, folk-inflected blues sound with the sweeping power of synth-soaked modern radio. He’s got the musical chops to hang with the Newport Folk Festival set, but isn’t afraid of the sonic power of the laptop.

His fascination with striking the balance between tradition and modernity was never better illustrated than in his encores, when he unplugged on a solo acoustic version of “Cherry Wine,” before going full-on maximalist for his cover of Ariana Grande’s scorned pop anthem “Problem.” And the guy must read a lot of Buzzfeed and Jezebel, because he seemed to know the power he was unleashing when he played the encores with his ‘80s-length-but-modern-conditioned hair up in one of those faux-chic man buns that seem so popular in the hipper areas.

The easiest thing to notice in Hozier’s body of work is his command of powerful hooks, but seeing him live helped unpack both his influences and lyrics, which revealed the meaty poetry of his verses. And he’s no slouch on the axe, either. His band was notable for a few reasons – he had a cellist, there was no one strumming a bass, the aforementioned laptop, and every member of the band lent vocal backing to the performance, which had a stirring effect. The house was obviously torn down when he performed “Take Me To Church.” His cover of Skip James’s “Illinois Blues,” seemed to be as personal a statement as any, and he closed the show with strength on “Work Song,” which he teased as the next single. I enjoyed the music, but in the listening, I found myself most moved by the writing. And in writing, it’s important to cite your sources. So my most satisfying moment came early, during a fantastical daydream about the life he wanted to build with his new flame:

“We’ll name our children Jackie and Wilson, raise 'em on rhythm and blues.”

Meet the rising Hollywood stars of 2016

Stephen Schaefer Tuesday, January 05, 2016

New faces — they’re the lifeblood of Hollywood’s star-making machine, which each year finds and promotes previously undervalued, ignored or undiscovered talent and transforms them into potential box-office magnets.

Last year gave us John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, the new “Star Wars” discoveries.

Just two years ago Chris Pratt was known as a voice of “The Lego Movie” and Anna Faris’ husband. Now he’s a Hollywood player thanks to planned sequels to “Jurassic World” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

The faces to watch for 2016:

Alexander Skarsgard —

“The Legend of Tarzan” (July 1): A name player thanks to his famous father Stellan and HBO’s “True Blood,” Alexander, 39, could vault to Chris Pratt-level stardom in this reboot as the English lord raised by apes. In this latest installment, he returns from London to safeguard his African jungle.

sources: the Boston Herald, photo by Jonathan Olley/Warner Brothers
Vandals plant explosives in Massachusetts LGBT newspaper box
The Rainbow Times, the largest LGBT publication in New England, was targeted by assailants at 1:19 a.m. Tuesday.

Earlier this week, seven people in the town of Salem, Massachusetts planted fireworks in the newspaper box that holds copies of the local LGBT publication, the Rainbow Times. 

This is the 11th time the newspaper has faced some kind of vandalism, including one attack during Pride month. This attack happened on a normally busy shopping street, around 1AM. The police chief referred to it as a hate crime, but it’s unclear whether it’s being formally prosecuted as such.

Nicole Lashomb, the editor in chief of the Times, said she was shocked by the surveillance footage of the incident.

“When I first saw it, I gasped and cupped my hand over my mouth,” Lashomb told the Boston Herald. “It was that shocking to me. After the explosion went off the box is sitting there in flames until the officers arrive.”

She believes that the vandals were sending a clear message.

“The message is they don’t want us there,” Lashomb said, adding: “I think you have to be concerned about violence. I think with the presidential race and the political climate … it could lead to more violence.”

Times publisher Gricel Ocasio added that the paper will not back down in the face of hatred.

“This is a form of censorship,” Ocasio said. “I guess, perhaps, they thought they can silence us and we would be gone. We will not be silenced. We have two new boxes coming into the city. We are not deterred.”

There are a lot of ways to express violence toward a community, and this is one of them. Hoping they can move forward with resilience and strength.

Many fans ship Carol and Daryl (Norman Reedus) as a couple.

“They share an unusual and very deep bond,” McBride said. “They come from similar places pre-apocalypse, where their own ability to be independent and express themselves was squashed and diminished by someone who dominated over them, and they kind of get this in each other. They are personal allies in this — to support one another — to take control, to be what you wanted to be. It’s a lovely bond, just a sweet support.”

But as for romance between the two? McBride is coy.

“You’d have to ask the writers.”

—  Melissa McBride, October 10th, 2014 - Boston Herald 

‘1989’ is different than any other album I’ve made,” Swift said in what was possibly the night’s only understatement.

It is, and it isn’t.

The genre might have changed, but the brand hasn’t. Now 25 and a bona fide pop culture phenomenon, Swift isn’t selling music so much as individuality, self-confidence and the willingness to own how you truly feel and embrace who you really are — even if it’s not exactly who you used to be.

—  1989 tour review. (Boston Herald)