Readers respond to an interview with writer Kate Moses about Sylvia Plath and to a review of Michael Savage's new book.

Published February 21, 2003 8:00PM (EST)

Read "The Lioness in Winter."

As a reader of poetry, I've always appreciated Plath's "Ariel" poems, which strike me in the same way they strike others: undeniably forceful and fine. But as for Plath herself, and as a parent, I consider her act of taking her own life inexcusable, and I can only comprehend it by believing her insane at that moment. For me, her insanity is not a great mystery: It was brought on because she thought about herself so much. And as a former Northampton townie, I can tell you from experience that this aspect of Plath's makeup is far from atypical of an American woman attending Smith.

-- Ed Adams

I read your interview with Ms. Moses with interest, as I liked her bits about Plath in Salon, and I was hoping she would explain her new book in more detail. I was disappointed. As one of many, many Plath addicts, I look at every new thing written about her. However, I can find no merit in Ms. Moses book, "Wintering." It is neither a work of creative fiction, nor a factual biography. It's the literary equivalent of a bio-pic, (I call it "bio-fic") and that, in my opinion, is a weak writer's trick for writing a novel and getting it published. Ms. Moses and Emma Tennant have more in common that she thinks.

-- Amy Hicks

Can we simply cease the assertion that poets, or other visionaries, are "victims of their own biochemistry," as offered up by Kate Moses. Not only is this claim speculative, it is almost certainly inaccurate.

I was a practicing mental health professional for seven years. The theories underlying this practice unravel with even the slightest intellectual pressure. In fact, they are dimwitted enough that self-respecting persons find it necessary to abandon them.

Modern psychiatry lends itself to the kind of shallow speculation seen in Ms. Mose's comments. Are we to give up, entirely, the idea that visionaries enter a unique (and potentially dangerous) territory when choosing to speak Truth?

The lostness (for lack of a better word) of modern culture, the grotesque deceitfulness of others, the majesty of life and creation -- such revelations would drive even the soberest person to the very edge of sanity.

Biochemistry, indeed.

-- John Guess

Read "Savage With the Truth."

Michael Savage must be an alchemist. His loud-mouthed ignorance makes Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh look intelligent by comparison. Turning Hannity and Limbaugh into semi-intelligent primates is much harder than turning lead into gold.

-- John Mize

That's funny that Michael Savage claims he's denied his American birthright due to his race. As race is a condition one's born with, he's essentially complaining that one circumstance of his birth (race) is destroying an entitlement another circumstance (location) provides.

-- Steve Story

By Salon Staff

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