~from Michaela Hayes
My personal national poetry month would not be complete without a tribute to Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus.” This poem always chills me to the bone in the best possible way. The three line stanzas, the leading questions, the intermittent German — oof. It’s a complicated poem and there are many different takes on it, but personally I like to read it in conjunction with her other poem written around the same time “Purdah.” They mirror each other in structure and both explore the idea of being women from different time periods and cultures. Plath’s exploration of womanhood is, in my opinion, unparalleled in 20th century poetry. And of course, we cannot talk about “Lady Lazarus” without bringing up the last three lines: “out of the ash/ I rise with my red hair/ and I eat men like air.” The first time I read that stanza, I decided I wanted it tattooed on my body. I now sport Sylvia Plath wherever I go.