Top 83 Sylvia Plath Quotes

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“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again.”

― Sylvia Plath

“There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”

― Sylvia Plath

“How frail the human heart must be – a mirrored pool of thought.”

― Sylvia Plath

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

― Sylvia Plath

“My mother had taught shorthand and typing to support us since my father died, and secretly she hated it and hated him for dying and leaving no money because he didn’t trust life insurance salesmen.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Excellent teachers showered on to us like meteors: Biology teachers holding up human brains, English teachers inspiring us with a personal ideological fierceness about Tolstoy and Plato, Art teachers leading us through the slums of Boston, then back to the easel to hurl public school gouache with social awareness and fury.”

― Sylvia Plath

“My childhood landscape was not land but the end of the land – the cold, salt, running hills of the Atlantic. I sometimes think my vision of the sea is the clearest thing I own.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I must discipline myself. I must be imaginative and create plots, knit motives, probe dialogue – rather than merely trying to record descriptions and sensations. The latter is pointless, without purpose, unless it is later to be synthesized into a story. The latter is also a rather pronounced symptom of an oversensitive and unproductive ego.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad.”

― Sylvia Plath

“The sea was our main entertainment. When company came, we set them before it on rugs, with thermoses and sandwiches and colored umbrellas, as if the water – blue, green, gray, navy or silver as it might be – were enough to watch.”

― Sylvia Plath

“For a time, I believed not in God nor Santa Claus, but in mermaids. They seemed as logical and possible to me as the brittle twig of a seahorse in the zoo aquarium or the skates lugged up on the lines of cursing Sunday fishermen – skates the shape of old pillowslips with the full, coy lips of women.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.”

― Sylvia Plath

“When you are insane, you are busy being insane – all the time.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Mountains terrify me – they just sit about; they are so proud.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Perfection is terrible; it cannot have children.”

― Sylvia Plath

“One should be able to control and manipulate experiences with an informed and intelligent mind.”

― Sylvia Plath

“The blood jet is poetry and there is no stopping it.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Today is the first of August. It is hot, steamy and wet. It is raining. I am tempted to write a poem. But I remember what it said on one rejection slip: ‘After a heavy rainfall, poems titled ‘Rain’ pour in from across the nation.’”

― Sylvia Plath

“I felt proud that the baby’s first real adventure should be as a protest against the insanity of world annihilation. Already a certain percentage of unborn children are doomed by fallout, and no one knows the cumulative effects of what is already poisoning the air and sea.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Kiss me and you will see how important I am.”

― Sylvia Plath

“In London the day after Christmas (Boxing Day), it began to snow: my first snow in England. For five years, I had been tactfully asking, ‘Do you ever have snow at all?’ as I steeled myself to the six months of wet, tepid gray that make up an English winter. ‘Ooo, I do remember snow,’ was the usual reply, ‘when I were a lad.’”

― Sylvia Plath

“Wear your heart on your skin in this life.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I talk to God but the sky is empty.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I saw the gooseflesh on my skin. I did not know what made it. I was not cold. Had a ghost passed over? No, it was the poetry.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I saw the first of the 7-mile-long column appear – red and orange and green banners, ‘Ban the Bomb!’ etc., shining and swaying slowly. Absolute silence. I found myself weeping to see the tan, dusty marchers, knapsacks on their backs – Quakers and Catholics, Africans and whites, Algerians and French – 40 percent were London housewives.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I made a point of eating so fast I never kept the other people waiting who generally ordered only chef’s salad and grapefruit juice because they were trying to reduce. Almost everybody I met in New York was trying to reduce.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Apparently, the most difficult feat for a Cambridge male is to accept a woman not merely as feeling, not merely as thinking, but as managing a complex, vital interweaving of both.”

― Sylvia Plath

“What a man is is an arrow into the future, and what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from.”

― Sylvia Plath

“A baby! I hated babies. I, who for two and a half years had been the center of a tender universe, felt the axis wrench and a polar chill immobilize my bones. I would be a bystander, a museum mammoth.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Believe in some beneficent force beyond your own limited self. God, god, god: where are you? I want you, need you: the belief in you and love and mankind.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I have felt great advances in my poetry, the main one being a growing victory over word nuances and a superfluity of adjectives.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am.”

― Sylvia Plath

“But life is long. And it is the long run that balances the short flare of interest and passion.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I love people. Everybody. I love them, I think, as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Every woman adores a Fascist.”

― Sylvia Plath

“My mother’s face floated to mind, a pale, reproachful moon, at her last and first visit to the asylum since my twentieth birthday. A daughter in an asylum! I had done that to her. Still, she had obviously decided to forgive me.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I think the sea swallowed dozens of tea sets – tossed in abandon off liners or consigned to the tide by jilted brides. I collected a shiver of china bits, with borders of larkspur and birds or braids of daisies. No two patterns ever matched.”

― Sylvia Plath

“If I have not the power to put myself in the place of other people, but must be continually burrowing inward, I shall never be the magnanimous creative person I wish to be. Yet I am hypnotized by the workings of the individual, alone, and am continually using myself as a specimen.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I am a victim of introspection.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Mother believed that I should have an enormous amount of sleep, and so I was never really tired when I went to bed. This was the best time of day, when I could lie in the vague twilight, drifting off to sleep, making up dreams inside my head the way they should go.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Indecision and reveries are the anesthetics of constructive action.”

― Sylvia Plath

“If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I’m neurotic as hell. I’ll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Poetry, I feel, is a tyrannical discipline. You’ve got to go so far so fast in such a small space; you’ve got to burn away all the peripherals.”

― Sylvia Plath

“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.”

― Sylvia Plath

“It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing negative – whichever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it.”

― Sylvia Plath

“There is so much hurt in this game of searching for a mate, of testing, trying. And you realize suddenly that you forgot it was a game, and turn away in tears.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Is there no way out of the mind?”

― Sylvia Plath

“If I tried to describe my personality, I’d start to gush about living by the ocean half my life and being brought up on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and believing in magic for years and years.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I’ve begun to think like a Jew, to feel like a Jew.”

― Sylvia Plath

“The next five months are grim ones. I always feel sorry to have the summertime change, with the dark evenings closing in mid-afternoon, and will try to lay in some physical comforts these months – the best insurance against gloominess for me.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Widow. The word consumes itself.”

― Sylvia Plath

“There is something suspect, especially in America, about people who don’t have ten-year plans for a career or at least a regular job.”

― Sylvia Plath

“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”

― Sylvia Plath

“How we need another soul to cling to.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I don’t believe that the meek will inherit the earth; The meek get ignored and trampled.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Freedom is not of use to those who do not know how to employ it.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Now and then, when I grow nostalgic about my ocean childhood – the wauling of gulls and the smell of salt, somebody solicitous will bundle me into a car and drive me to the nearest briny horizon.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Arrogant, I think I have written lines which qualify me to be The Poetess of America (as Ted will be The Poet of England and her dominions).”

― Sylvia Plath

“I am a writer… I am a genius of a writer; I have it in me. I am writing the best poems of my life; they will make my name.”

― Sylvia Plath

“When I was learning to creep, my mother set me down on the beach to see what I thought of it. I crawled straight for the coming wave and was just through the wall of green when she caught my heels.”

― Sylvia Plath

“What I want back is what I was.”

― Sylvia Plath

“It seems this is an age of clever critics who keep bewailing the fact that there are no works worthy of criticism.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I think that personal experience is very important, but certainly it shouldn’t be a kind of shut-box and mirror-looking, narcissistic experience. I believe it should be relevant, and relevant to the larger things, the bigger things, such as Hiroshima and Dachau and so on.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I pass by people, grazing them on the edges, and it bothers me. I’ve got to admire someone to really like them deeply – to value them as friends.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I hope to submit to the little pamphlet magazines here ‘freelance’ and perhaps shall join the Labour Club, as I really want to become informed on politics, and it seems to have an excellent program. I am definitely not a Conservative, and the Liberals are too vague and close to the latter.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Dying is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I’ve a call.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I am too pure for you or anyone.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I think my poems immediately come out of the sensuous and emotional experiences I have.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I have a visual imagination.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Poetry at its best can do you a lot of harm.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I want Books and Babies and Beef stews.”

― Sylvia Plath

“That is how it stiffens, my vision of that seaside childhood. My father died; we moved inland. Whereon those nine first years of my life sealed themselves off like a ship in a bottle – beautiful, inaccessible, obsolete: a fine, white, flying myth.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Everybody had to go to some college or other. A business college, a junior college, a state college, a secretarial college, an Ivy League college, a pig farmer’s college. The book first, then the work.”

― Sylvia Plath

“A little thing, like children putting flowers in my hair, can fill up the widening cracks in my self-assurance like soothing lanolin.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Since my woman’s world is perceived greatly through the emotions and the senses, I treat it that way in my writing – and am often overweighted with heavy descriptive passages and a kaleidoscope of similes.”

― Sylvia Plath

“There is an increasing market for mental hospital stuff. I am a fool if I don’t relive it, recreate it.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I remember that as I was writing a poem on ‘Snow’ when I was eight, I said aloud, ‘I wish I could have the ability to write down the feelings I have now when I am little, because when I grow up, I will know how to write, but I will have forgotten what being little feels like.’”

― Sylvia Plath

“Didn’t you know I’m going to be the greatest, most entertaining author and artist in the world? Well, don’t feel badly, I didn’t either!”

― Sylvia Plath

“I see in Cambridge, particularly among the women dons, a series of such grotesques! It is almost like a caricature series from Dickens to see our head table at Newnham.”

― Sylvia Plath

“We fitted, amusingly enough, into none of the form categories of ‘The Young American Couple’… security to us is in ourselves, and no job, not even money, can give us what we have to develop: faith in our work and hard, hard work, which is Spartan in many ways.”

― Sylvia Plath

“I looked on my stomach and saw Frieda Rebecca, white as flour with the cream that covers new babies, funny little dark squiggles of hair plastered over her head, with big, dark-blue eyes.”

― Sylvia Plath
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