Anne Stevenson, the poet, has died whose ‘meticulously crafted poetry was elegiac, witty, passionate and sharply visual’ in the words of a reviewer. She avoided fame and publicity – out of a distrust of “the ego-hill, the misery-well,/ the siren hiss of publish, success”. But became the focus of outrage for Bitter Fame her biography of Sylvia Plath in which she apportioned equal blame to Plath as well as Ted Hughes for the breakdown of their relationship, before Plath’s suicide. The biography was highly praised as “by far the most intelligent, and the only authentically satisfying” record of Plath’s life and a decade later Stevenson was vindicated when Ted Hughes published his Birthday Letters. But the hostility of the Plath worshippers made her weary of the subject.
I would have to confess I never quite understand the whole Plath mania or why she became so emblematic of downtrodden womanhood for the burgeoning feminist movement.
Anne Stevenson, 3 January 1933, was born less than three months after Plath, 27 October 1932 2.10pm Boston, Massachusetts, so both had the idealism and dreaminess of Jupiter Neptune in Virgo; and the disruptive Pluto square Uranus. Though in Plath’s case Saturn in Capricorn opposing Pluto would give her a depressive streak. Stevenson had a Capricorn Sun, which does have a creative side. The sign is sometimes referred to as the stander on the threshold between the unconscious (creativity) and the conscious so can bring ideas from the imaginative realm and make them real. Sometimes, with business men, turning them into money.
Sylvia Plath did have an 8th house Scorpio Sun which would give her a dark and passionate resonance though why that implanted itself into the public consciousness in such an enduring way isn’t obvious. She did have an unaspected Libra Moon which Tierney describes as ‘the most personal traumatic of any planet’ bringing a sense of disconnection, making her overly vulnerable, unstable and unable to find the nurturing she needed.
Her relationship with Leonine Ted Hughes, 17 August 1939 11.55 pm Mytholmroyd, England, was toxic with a hostile, power-struggling Mars Pluto conjunction opposition Saturn square Uranus opposition Mercury. The surprise isn’t that they parted, it’s that they ever got together in the first place. Though admittedly there was an affectionate Sun Venus conjunction as well.
Plath had Neptune in her 7th so would be attracted to elusive though affectionate partners and while dependent with her Moon, Venus, Jupiter in her 7th as well she would find commitment difficult.
Plath’s leaving-a-legacy 17th harmonic is heavily aspected as was her global-fame 22H – which may be some pointer to why she became such an iconic figure.