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Visitors' Comments about:

The Rival

Sylvia Plath

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Added by: Julia
As a critic of almost everything Sylvia Plath has written (no offence, she just isn't my scene) I for some reason set myself on a task to find a poem by her that I liked because I saw her mindset as not worlds apart FROM things I relate to (I just dont like the way she says it in her poems). This is that poem. Whereas I have found her other work too abstract and often pretentious, I found this touched chords I didnt know that she could reach in me. If I had to read nothing but her writing for the rest of my days, I would read this one poem over and over.
Added by: Dumbo
Sorry. nope. Even this one doesn't cut it for me. Poor Sylvia. No wonder she killed herself. If I had to read my own writing and it sounded like her stuff, I would too. Thank god, for me, that is not the case. Sorry if that sounds conceited. i just can not believe that someone gets away with writing these poems and praised for it. I must be extremely stupid. But at least I can write a good poem.
Added by: ceilingwithoutastar
If the moon smiled,

she would resemble you

you leave the same impression of something beautiful but annihilating (cant spell)

those are my fav lines (besides my screen name) form any poem ive read.
Nay you say...
Added by: Peter Carter
I think the people commenting here about Plath's abstraction and this being her 'best poem' are seriously missing the point. The abstraction is a result of the subject matter she so often grapples with: madness and the unreachable areas on the periphory of conciousness. To describe these with concrete imagery would be a massive mistake. As far as I can see, people here like this poem because it's 'normal'. It's a good poem, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't take the great risks with experimentation that say 'Daddy' or 'Mushrooms' do...
Regarding previous comments on Sylvia Plath:
Added by: Louise
Someone by the name of 'Dumbo' commented how horrible Sylvia Plath's poetry is, but I believe that it is wrong to criticise any poem that comes from deep within someone. This is their heart out on show. I have only read a few of Sylvia Plaths' poems, but from what I've read, they are beautiful, and need appreciation, due to how raw and honest they are.
Added by: Julia
No, to discribe this poem as normal is insulting - its not just normal, it is beautiful, alluring, thought provoking and tangible.
I am not from The Cat Sat On The Mat school of "only read the obvious stuff", I enjoy a wide variety of poetry, and to say that Ms Plath did nothing for me is purely a subjective comment not a statement against anyone enjoying her works. Everyone is entitled to their favourites and this is mine - just as the whole world doesnt like for example Metallica, Gene Pitney, Brahms and the Spice Girls all at once, but each of them have a place in someone's heart
The Rival
Added by: Shannon
This poem is clearly directed at Assia, Ted Hughes' mistress. Sylvia is beautifully expressing her resentful-yet-awed regard of the woman who stole her husband's heart. The poem is heartfelt, expertly crafted, and stewing with emotion. THAT alone makes it valid and interesting, regardless of whether you arrogant assholes think you can write a better poem or not. Seriously!
Added by: MW
Well said, Shannon, regarding arrogant assholes.

Actually, Dumbo, you don't sound conceited. Ignorant, yes. Everyone has different opinions about different poems - fine. As for your comment about her killing herself - I'm not even going to go there. Anyone with any sense reading your comment can see for themselves how well you display your ignorance, I'm sure.

Just my opinion - I don't think The Rival is CLEARLY about Assia. Although it's an obvious conclusion to come to, I personally think it's more likely about a writing rival rather than a rival in love. I assumed it would be about Assia until I read it closely...I think it's about Anne Sexton. Although I wouldn't be surprised if it was about several people - it doesn't have to be about one person in particular.
Added by: LJ
I would just like to point out that "the rival" cannot be about Assia Wevil for the pure fact of the date, it was written in late '61, when Ted had not even met Assia.
Added by: actually
this poem is about ted. read it again.

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