It’s near-impossible to approach Ariel, without think of the legend of Plath. The legend of her as a beautiful, brilliant poet driven to suicide by her demons and controlling husband. she has come to represent the eternal image of the artist destroyed. I hate to say I expected Ariel to be less powerful than it is, but I did. Plath’s poetry is so meticulously composed it threatens this idea we have of confessional poetry as a cry, a begging for helping and attention, I don’t imagine these as a chaotic, cathartic outpouring of despair, they are more balanced than than that. The title itself means ‘lion of God’ in Hebrew, but also evokes the “airy spirit” in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. To me this is an immediate display of not just power, but a strictly feminine power, connoting Ariel’s control over all of the earth’s elements. Of course, as it was published posthumously, no one but her editors read any of the poems without the knowledge of her suicide tainting them, but Plath gave these poems no weakness, her personas read to me as stronger versions of herself; Lady Lazarus threatens the “eat men like air” while Plath struggled with her own husband’s abandonment and infidelity, the persona in ‘Daddy’ end with the triumphant note “Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.”
Plath’s suicide is perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century, the absence of a note makes is a ambiguous one. We are deprived of even know why she did it, of course we can assume indicators, but the crater she left in the literary world by blowing herself to pieces is one without reason. What we do have is her curtain call, Ariel reads like a women who never expected it to be her last performance, her backstage disappearance, without words, leaves us only with her scenes.
Now one thing I have a deep love for is horror movies. I grew up watching every single one I could get my hands on and forcing my mother to let me pick up 5 for a fiver at blockbuster every Friday (yes I’m that old). Recently my love of horror has came back with a vengeance and I’ve been making up for lost time, so during this horror Renaissance of mine and one movie I began with is Ana Lily Amirpour’s Persian language flick ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’.
The plot is fairly simple, it’s a romance set in an Iranian ghost town that involves all the typical tropes of a ‘will they won’t they’ romance. Oh and the chick’s a vampire. For all it’s simplicity the strongest draw of this movie is it’s sheer beauty, the female characters are lit up like old movie stars and the whole thing has a western/film noir feel (no doubt aided by the choice to shoot in black and white). The overall effect is less hammer horror and more ‘Double Indemnity’, just with added fangs.
When so much of our conversation about the contemporary Middle East is dominated by topics of war and extremism, to see a movie that tackles this on a sheer allegorical level is a thing of artistic merit and rarity. Having said that, this is a grisly film, with references to domestic violence and terrorism (how else would it be a ghost town?). But it’s one that also features a skateboarding vampire and I’m sorry but if that doesn’t entertain you I can be of no help.
I’m currently working on a essay discussing Hughes’s adoption of the blues form and jazz vernacular language, while doing the reading I discovered this gem, a rare example of Hughes’ more metaphorical poetry:
Love is like dew
On lilacs at dawn:
Comes the swift sun
And the dew is gone
Love is like star-light
In the sky at morn:
Star-light that dies
When day is born.
Love is like perfume
In the heart of a rose:
The flower withers,
The perfume goes–
Love is no more
Than the breath of a rose,
Than the breath of a rose.
From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, p. 305.
So this is my blog. I’m setting this up as it’s dawning on me I need some sort of self-care technique. Don’t worry I’m not following the ‘young woman uses blog as diary’ trope. This blog is the reverse of that, it’s a place for me share my favourite things about the world, music, art, books and all the other reasons I stay alive. The internet contains enough stories of depression, this is my antidote. We can’t undo sadness or pain – it’s like when your parent made you eat your greens, but then at the same time there would always be dessert once you gave in- this is my way of reminded myself dessert exist.
I chose to name this blog ‘The Flowerpot’ as I view each post I plant as a seed. A way to bury something and watch it become beautiful. I’ve never been much of an outdoors person so this is my form of gardening.
I have always dreamed of being a writer (original I know). So some fiction/non-fiction might find it’s way onto here. But all you need to know about me is I’m a twenty year old female living near London with a love of Chianti and pretending she understands philosophy.