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Thursday, April 22, 2004

The "Sylvia Plath Effect"

According to researchers at CSU, poetry could be hazardous to your health...

Dr Kaufman, an assistant professor of psychology at California State University, studied the deaths of 1,987 writers from across the world and through the centuries.

"On average, poets lived 62 years, playwrights 63 years, novelists 66 years, and non-fiction writers lived 68 years," Dr Kaufman said in his report.

"Among American, Chinese and Turkish writers, poets died significantly younger than non-fiction writers - among the entire sample, poets died younger than both fiction writers and non-fiction writers."

And it's worse for female poets, according to Dr Kaufman. "Female poets were much more likely to suffer from mental illness (eg, be hospitalised, commit suicide, attempt suicide) than any other kind of writer, and more likely than other eminent women," he told Reuters. "I've dubbed this the 'Sylvia Plath effect'..."

Female poets--If you're experiencing suicidal thoughts, please read the following poem by the great Dorothy Parker, and step back from the brink. It's never too late to turn to prose or nonfiction.

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas Smells Awful;
You Might as well live.

--Dorothy Parker "Resume"


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