I think my poems immediately come out of
the sensuous and emotional experiences I have. . . .
~ Sylvia Plath
February 11, 2013, marked the 50th anniversary of poet Sylvia Plath's death. In the 14-minute audio recording below of a 1962 interview of Sylvia Plath by Peter Orr of The British Council, Plath talks about poetry-writing, the sources of her inspiration, and other poets who influenced her, her opinions of English poetry, novel-writing, and an interest in medicine. She describes her calling to poetry as "something absolutely essential to me. . . the actual experience of writing a poem is a magnificent one."
The text of the interview is available at Modern American Poetry.
Portions of the interview are incorporated in the 25-minute Lady Lazarus: Sylvia Plath, directed by experimental filmmaker and radical feminist Sandra Lahire (1950 - 2001) and made by BFI Production Board. Made in 1991 and shown recently at The Space as part of the many anniversary observances around the world, the color film also includes evocative recordings of Plath's poems, among them "Ouija", "Daddy", "Lady Lazarus", and "Ariel", in the poet's own voice. (The recordings were made between 1957 and 1958. Hear additional recordings at the Plath page at The Poetry Archive.) Lahire's film, in which a young woman acts as a spiritual medium for Plath during a seance, is dark and compelling. See the film in full here or here.
The Space is a digital arts service of Arts Council England in partnership with the BBC.
Audio of "Lady Lazarus"
"Sylvia Plath: Reflections on Her Legacy", The Guardian, February 8, 2013
Paul Alexander, "The Feminine Force", Opinion, The Boston Globe, February 9, 2013
Jillian Becker, "Sylvia Plath: Jillian Becker on the Poet's Last Days", BBC News Magazine, February 10, 2013
Melissa Bradshaw, "A Great Many Plathitudes: The Doom Myth of Sylvia Plath", The Quietus, February 10, 2013
Craig Morgan Teicher, "On the 50th Anniversary of Sylvia Plath's Death, A Look at Her Beginning", NPR, February 11, 2013
Sylvia Plath Info (Blog)