Poetically Speaking with Nicole the Book Bandit

poeticallyspeaking2Nicole is a librarian who blogs at The Book Bandit’s Blog where she reviews YA books as well as select middle grade and picture book titles. You might recognize Nicole as a round 2 judge for the 2014 Cybils awards in YA fiction. Nicole is also my real life BFF and constant companion for book adventures both real and online.

Nicole is stopping by the blog today to wrap up Poetically Speaking with her thoughts on Sylvia Plath.

I was introduced to Sylvia Plath in high school. If I remember correctly, I was taking a creative writing course, and we moved into the poetry portion of the class. We learned about the greats – Ginsberg, Dickinson, and Angelou. We learned who the beats were and what they stood for. We learned about the classical poets who paved the way. We learned why the caged bird sang. But me, I learned about Plath. And the more I learned – both inside and outside of the classroom – the more I found the poet that lived inside of me.

I read The Bell Jar in a few short sittings. I gobbled up poem after poem learning and understanding all I could about this fascinating woman. It was through my reading that I eventually stumbled upon “Mad Girl’s Love Song.” My reaction to this poem can be summed up in two words: blown away.

Mad Girl’s Love Song” left a lasting impression on me – as an aspiring writer, as a reader, and as a poetry-loving person. And the reason why it left such a strong impression on me was because I honestly felt that for the first time I understood what it meant to show, not to simply tell. When I read Plath’s “Mad Girl’s Love Song” the imagery was striking. After reading this poem I knew the kind of writer I wanted to be – daring, imaginative, and descriptive. I learned through Plath’s poem to write, not just with my head, but with my heart. I learned the importance of painting an picture, figuratively speaking.

Not only did this brief poem leave a lasting impression, it quickly became a favorite. And it’s a favorite because I learned so much from it. Beyond that, I love that how the one line “I think I made you up inside my head,” really drives home that idea of being “mad.” And still, for whatever reason it’s a favorite simply because of the connection I feel when reading it.

Mad Girl’s Love Song

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Thank you to Nicole for this post and reminding me of one of my favorite poems by an exceptionally talented poet.

If you want to see more of her reviews, be sure to check out her blog: http://thebookbandit.wordpress.com

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