Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Here's (above) Sylvia Plath's "Daddy," read by Plath. I like this poem, but it seems self-indulgent and even crazy to me. Boy, Sylvia could certainly can hold a grudge. What could her father have done to her to make her write a poem like this? My guess is...not much. It's possible that he had a mentally disturbed daughter who was willing to throw his reputation under the bus in order to establish her own reputation.
Anyway, love it or hate it, you have to admit that it represents an interesting extreme of revenge literature. The unrelenting, venemous intensity reminds me of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?" and the several pages long curse in the Bible aimed at anyone who touches the Arc of the Covenant.
Here's (above) Allen Ginsberg reading "America." I confess to liking this poem even though I completely disagree with the content. Walt Whitman popularized this kind of rambling, sloppy, stream-of-consciousness dialogue where the poet argues with an abstraction. Like Whitman, Ginsberg is often silly and easy to parody but you have to admit that it's appealing on some level.
Here's (above) Jack Kerouac reading one of his poems on the old "Tonight Show" with Steve Allen. Kerouac comes off as immensely sincere and the poem is an interesting, example of word music, at least when Jack reads it.