“Nick and the Candlestick” by Sylvia Plath


From the Favorite Poem Project video archive, here is Seph Rodney reading “Nick and the Candlestick” by Sylvia Plath. Rodney is a photographer in Santa Monica, CA.


“It was a date situation. I had wanted to go out with this girl and I just ended up feeling very bad at the end of it. It just didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. I ended up feeling kind of lonely and …‘bereft,’ I suppose. I came home and I opened this book and I read some of the poems. Up until that point I think my sense of poetry is that it was a sort of grandiose, highfalutin, not very real way of using language. And I looked at this stuff and I could not believe it. It was light-years beyond anything else I had ever read. It was powerful, it was rough, it was bitter, it was caustic. It was, at the same time, really urgent about a need for love.”

Related: The Favorite Poem Project is dedicated to celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry’s role in Americans’ lives. Robert Pinsky, the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, founded the Favorite Poem Project shortly after the Library of Congress appointed him to the post in 1997.