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Sylvia Plath, “Wuthering Heights”

You can find the text of “Wuthering Heights” at


I don’t think I’ve read this poem on the page since the late seventies, but reading it now makes me aware how much it’s been hovering in my mind since then, sometimes quietly in the background, sometimes distinctly visible and audible.

This is partly because it’s brilliantly written in ways we find in many of Plath’s mature poems. It seems to evolve with almost magical fluency. Ideas and images develop in startling directions and immediately crystallise in unforgettably vivid phrases. The voice flows through complicated sentence and stanza shapes that it … Continue Reading

Sylvia Plath, “Mushrooms”

We were given Sylvia Plath’s “Mushrooms” in an excellent writing class I’m going to and we discussed how Plath avoids the potentially monotonous effect of using a two-beat line over this length. What we talked about was the poem’s richness in alliteration and assonance. I think that in this poem such devices on the one hand, and syntax and metre on the other, play largely complementary roles. You can read the poem here to check my theory:


One of the main effects of the syntax is to keep things driving forward. The first four lines all end with strong enjambements, … Continue Reading