A letter to Sylvia



Dearest Sylvia, 


Google says it's your birthday. Happy Birthday. I rarely write letters, not to the living at least, which is melancholic, but I think you are too dead to care for yet another fan mail. Is that insensitive? To whom? 

I know you loved letters because any internet rabbit hole about you invariably ends up on one of your letters, or your suicide.  Artists have the most romanticised deaths,  don't you think?  One could counter with the romance around their lives. Are the deaths romantic because of the art around it,  or the art is considered art because of the romantic death? I think it has to be former,  because too many die, and there's not much romance in putting a bullet through your head, or your head through an oven. It has to be the art then. 

Your critics argue that The Bell Jar and Ariel were received the way they were because you died.  Regret,  accordingly,  made you one of the most iconic poets of the 20th Century. Makes sense,  doesn't it,  a century so riddled with war could only appreciate art as a regret? In a preposterously delinquent manner of speaking, thus, I am thankful you died then. 


If it's any counter to the said critique,  I read and loved The Bell Jar before I knew about your father,  your husband,  or your child, definitely months before I read about the oven. I am not a big fan of Ariel though. Blackberries speaks to my brain better. I wish I had the offers you got in The Applicant, not to marry,  but it would have been great to have a talking doll which isn't living. 

My best friend doesn't like my thoughts on you, or largely on deaths. He doesn't know much about either except what internet tell him,  and Internet talks about the romantic part? Death.  I hate that appropriation of you. 


Because on most days when the sky is too blue,  I hide in the crotch of your fig tree. 

Yet another fan, 

Pragya.