I found a precedent for girls like me in the work of confessional poets Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. They represented a respectable compromise between “real literature” and my irrepressible tendency to let the personal creep into my writing. I related intensely to the ferocity and focus in their work, but I soon felt the hinges of a trap closing around me. To identify with Plath and Sexton was to take up the mantle of the mad female poet, madness being what they were chiefly remembered for. Hemingway’s suicide was just a footnote to his biography; Plath and Sexton’s suicides defined them. I wanted more for myself, as a person and an artist.
B.N. Harrison writes about seeing Ophelia in everything.