Sylvia, Sylvia, Sylvia

an editorial by Brian Morrisey

“A poet is in control of the poem, making images work for a reason or purpose.” –Gerald Nicosia

WHEN THE DECOR OF YOUR YOUTH SHONE DOWN UPON YOU you in the break of day as words began shifting beneath your skin, I felt echoes of your soft whisper against my ear as I walked through cold January streets of Boston. A train plowed along the coast to Beverly until the night fell upon the sea gently sleeping in the eyes of a woman who sensed the forecast heat closing in off the dawning forefront of tomorrow.

My thoughts were at a standstill when Focus Films decided to devour the portrayal of Sylvia Plath as they projected through eyes half open to the muse of an aspiring poet. They slayed her a victim of Ted Hughes’ oppression and thirst for divine power of the woman he once loved. I was hoping John Brownlow (Screenwriter) would zoom in on Sylvia’s intimate relationship with the muse.

Instead, we consume a feast of images of a woman weak with apathy and confined to her cell in a prison of writer’s block. Instead of a Hollywood soap opera, I was hoping Brownlow and Christine Jeff (Director) would produce the film Sylvia in a format laid out similar to a poetic rendition of life behind the words. They could make it three dimensional and cut into the starvation for words behind the evolution of the poet. Let’s see the world naked through her eyes. The projection we view to the perceptions of a poet is few and far between weakness, chaos, psychosis, and suicide.

I thought for once, the intense bond with the muse was going to prevail in the minds of those who are misled or unaware to the active life of a poet. The reflection upon relationships was not enough to justify the importance of this major author. I wanted to see Sylvia from the inside. I was waiting for her to step into the light as poetess of the found presence of the word she possessed. I hoped for a deeper intimacy with the muse. Ted was fatal to her existence, but the poem became her separate identity. I wanted to see the birth of Sylvia’s passion for poetry, not the destruction.

This was a missed opportunity that failed to endure in the magic of a distinct voice.

During my interview with Gerald Nicosia, we talk about poetry and the mainstream. Poetry is cast aside from art forms that are accepted in America with active interest. Poetry subtly asks the reader to incorporate images into their own minds, carry them into reality as they know it. The reader must challenge their imagination to the art of poetry to paint an image of words upon the canvas of the mind by the use of sound, wordplay, and intense imagery that reaches toward the reader to grab their deepest intuitions.

I walked away from the film thinking, “That’s it?” Where was the passionate moments that evoke pure happiness when words, rhythm, and inspiration fit together on a whim? I wanted Sylvia to look and speak to me as a poet. Instead, I felt like she was across the street reaching for help, afraid to get too close, show her face in the light and stay with me.