Feb 1, 2013

Here's to two Marvelous poets




February marks the death of two of my favourite poets, two ladies who have been an important source of inspiration for me and my writing.

Sylvia Plath felt she lived her life under a bell jar. Forough Farrokhzad called herself 
"the captive" and her last poetry collection was entitled "the wall".
Both women bound by their limitations, although there is nothing limited about the inspiration their poetic and literary legacy gives to women writers. Coming from completely opposite backgrounds; Farrokhzad, from a strict Muslim Iranian society which portrayed her as a whore and as "a woman whose only talent is to say and write what other pious women would not dare to", with her poetry banned from publication for many years after the Islamic revolution (See my essay on Farrokhzad, blog post dated Sept. 5th 2011)  http://fatimaalmatar.blogspot.com/2011/09/wind-up-doll-forugh-farrokhzad-pushing.html
to Sylvia Plath's American/British life style which provided her with much opportunity to become one of the most important writers of the 20th century. Nevertheless, both women suffered deeply from broken marriages, wrestled their whole life with depression, frustrated by distant dysfunctional families, struggled with the constraints of woman hood, society, and poetic ambition, swinging constantly between 
extraordinary heights of intelligence and the most desperate level of despair.

With both their fathers' playing an important role in their poetic genius; Plath losing hers at a very young and critical age and living the rest of her life distraught with idea of love and belonging. And Farroukhzad; being disowned by hers in her twenties after her divorce and losing custody of her only child after proven an unfit mother before the Iranian courts, due to here unorthodox lifestyle of publically living with and engaging in relationships with various men outside wedlock.
Their feelings towards their fathers becoming the suppressing and the breathing space of their writing and as a result deeply affecting their love life and their attachment to men.      

Although Plath committed suicide at only 30, and Farrokhzad died in a car crash at 32, both incredibly gifted short lives ended in February (Plath on Feb. 11th  and Farroukhzad on Feb. 13th ). I outlive both women today and find myself sharing many of their misfortunes; the exhausting limitation of writing poetry, the impossibility of satisfaction, the broken marriage, the anger that comes with the social stigma of divorce, the pain of distant empathic parents, the disconnections with siblings, the disappointment with love, the loneliness of a single mother, and the never really knowing where to fit, thus I celebrate this month, here's to the two most brave, most marvelous lady poets I know.


To Plath and Farrokhzad



I understand what it is like for you

the opening and closing of the self

the coming and receding of the tides

the lowering and heightening of the voice

a soul stirring within you

wanting out then lazily sleeping in

wrestling with the idea of this heaven and this hell

there is almost no difference between wanting everything and wanting nothing at all, but nobody believes you.

I understand what it is like for you

sometimes  love

sometimes a sky of happiness can be bigger than the universe

sometimes the mere thought of living drowns you with disgust

I know

I know the thin glass door between you and that marvelous sunny day outside

And I know the will to never open it.