By Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley
320 pages. Oxford.
"I like riding up glass hills," wrote the ambitious Smith undergraduate, vying for a prize in the 1950s. But it is Sylvia Plath's downhill slide, enacted in her kamikaze poems and autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, that still rivets her readers 45 years after her suicide. Now a brighter side of this raging talent emerges in Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual (Oxford), a collection of Plath's artwork: early fantasies of mermaids and fairy princesses; patriotic book covers; kaleidoscopic paintings inspired by Rousseau, Gauguin, Klee, and her muse, de Chirico. The self-portraits (one titled The Happy Camper!) and critical essays probing the links between Plath's two arts reveal a wildly creative spirit, ravenous for color and life.