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  • Writer's pictureNazifa Islam

Sylvia Plath Found Poem in DIALOGIST

My final publication of 2022 is "Always the Outcast," a Sylvia Plath found poem in DIALOGIST! A lot of my Sylvia Plath poems are about the act of writing since Plath was pretty preoccupied with the subject. Some of the poems see writing as a necessity and others see it as an unpleasant obligation. "Always the Outcast" is a poem about writing as a necessity—something that the speaker is grateful for.

I used a paragraph from The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath to write this poem. Here is the paragraph with the words I selected in red:

Very depressed today. Unable to write a thing. Menacing gods. I feel outcast on a cold star, unable to feel anything but an awful helpless numbness. I look down into the warm, earthy world. Into a nest of lovers’ beds, baby cribs, meal tables, all the solid commerce of life in this earth, and feel apart, enclosed in a wall of glass. Caught between the hope and promise of my work - - - the one or two stories that seem to catch something, the one or two poems that build a little colored island of words - - - and the hopeless gap between that promise, and the real world of other peoples poems and stories and novels. My shaping spirit of imagination is far from me. At least I have begun my German. Painful, as if “part were cut out of my brain”. I am of course at fault. Anesthetizing myself again, and pretending nothing is there. There is the curse of this vanity. My inability to lose myself in a character, a situation. Always myself, myself. What good does it do to be published, if I am producing nothing? If only a group of people were more important to me than the Idea of a Novel, I might begin a novel. Little artificial stories that get nothing of the feeling, the drama even of life. When they should be realer, more intense than life. And I am prepared for nothing else. Am dead already. Pretend an interest in astrology, botany, which I never follow up. When I go home I must teach myself the Tarot pack, the stars, German conversation. Add French to my studying. This comes so natural to some people. Ted is my salvation. He is so rare, so special, how could anyone else stand me! Of course, otherwise I might get a PhD, teach in New York, or work at a career. It is hard, with our unplanned drifting, to do much in this way.

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