Sylvia Plath (1932 - 1963) was an American poet, author, and essayist.
She showed early literary promise, publishing her first poem at the age of 8; her father, a college professor and noted authority on the subject of bees, died at around the same time.
In her junior year at Smith College, Plath made what was to be the first of several suicide attempts: this was later to be detailed in the autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, published in 1963.
She was severely affected by manic depression.
She and Ted Hughes settled for a while in a small village in Devon, but separated less than two years after the death of their first child, and Plath returned to London. The winter of 1962/1963 was one of the harshest in living memory. On February 11 1963, ill, low on money, Sylvia Plath committed suicide by gas asphyxiation.
Collections of her poetry were published posthumously: these include the celebrated Ariel, published in 1965.