Poetry inspired by Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton “The Visitors” by Diane Funston

Bio: Diane Funston writes poetry of nature and human nature. She co-founded a women’s poetry salon in San Diego, created a weekly poetry gathering in the high desert town of Tehachapi, CA and most recently has been the Yuba-Sutter Arts and Culture Poet-in-Residence for the past two years. It is in this role she created Poetry Square, a monthly online venue that features poets from all the world reading their work and discussing creative process. 

Diane has been published in Synkronicity, California Quarterly, Whirlwind, San Diego Poetry Annual, Summation, Tule Review, Lake Affect Magazine, and other literary journals. Her first chapbook, “Over the Falls” was published this July 2022 from Foothills Publishing. 

Diane is also a visual artist in mosaic, wool felting, and collage. Her pieces have been in galleries in the Sacramento Valley. 

                              The Visitors 

There is a knock on my door, most unexpectedly,
in a well- deserved moment of solitude.
Two woman are at the door,
their faces, pallid, hair pulled back, distant eyes. 
It took me a while, but I soon recognized them. 

Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. 
I could see my front yard trees through their gossamer nightgowns.
Ghostly and forthright they walked right through me
and sat on the settee by the fireplace.
"Can I get you something"?, I asked,
feeling it was such a dumb question. 

"We are here to give you something", 
Anne said, lighting a cigarette. 
I was too taken aback to protest. 
"Virginia was supposed to come too", Sylvia whispered,
"but she was drowning in responsibilities".
"We noticed you are struggling between family need and self",
they said in haunting, choir-like unison. 
"We've been there, many of us, your sisters.
We thought it might be easier in modern times,
but once again we were misled". 

"I'm happy, I am well,
my kids are grown", I said, "why warn me?"
"You have that room of your own, dear.
Be rude if you must, be selfish, rest your mind.
but do go into your own room, your own space,
and write to save your life". 

A moment later, the fire surged a bit,
and I was all alone, left on the settee,
a blank pad of paper and a pen at my side.

Poetry inspired by Plath & Sexton by Kerri Nicole McCaffrey

Bio: Kerri Nicole McCaffrey taught English for many years—most recently at Lake Forest Academy on Chicago’s North Shore. While teaching, a huge goal she always had was to conduct poetry clubs— in order to attract more young people to express themselves through verse. Three of her own favorite poets are Jane Kenyon, Anne Sexton, and Sylvia Plath—all of whom have helped Kerri write better and navigate her way through life. A lover of the outdoors, Kerri hopes to one day hike the Appalachian Trail.

To Sylvia Plath or Anne Sexton

In the era you died—
desiccated and insect eaten
plunging thirty stories or more
I parachuted away
a small redwood seed
gliding to safety.
Then, I sadly watched you splinter
in giant concussions
even as the pillow of alluvial soil
tried to save you
not realizing you were a falling coffin–
a wooden corpse.
And I grew in the nutrients
you left behind—
the organic metaphor
your figures of speech
soaring similes
and themes like peat.
Your confessions
–exposed heartwood–
were too much for others
even arborists and young mothers,
but I hung on every word
to me—a hundred blessings.
I am rising now
a proud fir—
my sap flowing in colored words—
after all, you taught me
in meter and rhyme
that poets don’t reach these heights
to look down,
but to help others make sense of their world,
their rotting wounds
which will heal—
if they just give them time.

Haiku Poems inspired by Anne Sexton from Barbara Anna Gaiardoni

Bio: Barbara Anna Gaiardoni is an italian pedagogist, author, doodler, ex-violinist and former swimmer.

She have participated in national literary and poetic competitions, obtaining the publication of her texts; currently publishes Japanese poem on the international trade journals.

Drawing and walking in nature are his passions.

Her motto is “I can, I must, I will do it”.

@BGaiardoni (Twitter)

barbara.gaiardoni (Facebook)


smiling the old butterfly
emerges from the shadows -
her last supper 

to smoke in the field
infested with nettles...
how to kill the time

there is only 
a flight to oblivion -
little fireflies 

A Poetry Showcase: Adrian Ernesto Cepeda inspired by Dylan, Miles, Plath, Sexton, Marilyn

Within the palm of Miles Davis
 From a 1986 photograph by Irving Penn

You can feel the grooves
all the notes created from
exhausted breaths, of his 
lips chapped gold on his 
glowing instrument, gripping 
sounds trying to capture music—
by coloring the air canvas 
with new notes he creates
in the gust of improvisation,
always chasing the rhythm that
eludes him— under the sweat 
of spotlight, overcoming 
calluses, he reaches for
creations exhale, when 
he blows, Davis loves 
the taste of inspiration 
inside his mouth, making 
out with masterpieces
in the middle of his solo—
with so many miles to go 
his trumpet never sleeps.

Midnight at Newnham Gardens

Sylvia loved speaking poetry
to the sculpted boy and dolphin,
splashing in Cambridge winter 
silence, as she moved her shivered
lips speaking to something who 
could listen without accents.  She
loved to daydream within the snow
globe shadows. Plath would make
up naturally blessed Ariel verses
and the boy would glow statuesque—
frozen marble eyes would attract
her night after night, not saying
much ears open waiting to hear 
her sneaker footsteps, standing 
in front of her quiet friend was
her favorite solitude, conversations
sharing December breaths alone, when 
she spoke in whispered Winthrop, 
Massachusetts rhymes, Plath
would beautifully melt icicles. 
Chewing midnight sojurn, 
Sylvia loved listening 
Trying to decipher all 
the frozen London voices— 
buried in the moonlit snow.   
Driving us, Floating Uptown

Bluntly passing joints 
watching the street
car, car stereo loudly
imagines Bob Dylan 
between us, almost floating
on the grassy median
while on this short 
mind trip, you drove us 
Uptown on St. Charles
Avenue, the trees
are colorful carnival
umbrellas, scattered
with Mardi Gras beads
hanging on every
branch. As I reach
from the car window,
wishing I could grab
one but as you signal
to turn the car onto
your street. I can feel
my munchies kick in,
remembering the laughter
when we smoked out,
it was not just getting high,
passing me the joint,
there was this unspoken
joy of two buddies
lifted, sitting on his
couch listening to Dylan’s
Man of Constant Sorrow,
two po boys munching 
down on our favorite 
Magazine St. sandwiches, 
minds stoned sharing
so many silence of moments—
although I’ve forgotten 
so many NOLA nights, 
shows at Tipitinas, State 
Palace Theatre raves, 
free movie passes at
Canal Place Prytania, 
pizza slices/ SIN discount 
drinks at Club Decatur—
I always remember 
cotton mouth contagious, 
like howlin’ wolves 
lifting our spirits, 
joyfully, sipping 
bottled beers next
to a buddy in a smoky
room, with minds in
the clouds, always 
missing the jubilant 
uptown banter, bongs
of remembrances 
parking grins—
spinning CD’s
imagining Dylan
between us, lyrically
lighting one up, 
in an afternoon daze,
with my buddy Keefer 
the high always transcends. 

Only the wind can truly kiss meI was coming apart. / They loved me until/ I was gone” 
—  Anne Sexton 

Some nights, I sleepwalk
on the beach, waking up
quivering, knowing this
is where my often maltreated
body loves to feel the chills
rippling against my robe,
titillating underneath, 
my naked skin. My face loves 
the way the gust could reach
deeper, each breeze against
my cheeks, the gale kisses
wildly like no man’s lips 
never dared to reach—
the wind never takes me,
she blows inviting thoughts
so cool, revealing the only
time I feel naturally blushing 
without make up, just me—  
my eyes closed loving how 
much the tempest winds match
each storming burst tempting
so beautifully disrobing me 
from my inside.

(If I had) Five Minutes with Marilyn Monroe
From a 1955 photograph by Ed Feingersh at Costello’s Restaurant, NYC

 I would light up more than her cigarette,
and her soft inquisitives smile. I would 
sit across the booth and encourage her 
not to only focus on silver dreams, attractions
becoming only on theatre screens. Instead 
of centerfold, photoshoots, exposing more 
than skin, show all your body, volumes
printed from the spine. Remember Sandburg, 
Miller, Capote’s gift? You too can expose sharing
every imperfect scar, have your legacy so brave
on the page, each line you bare engraved like
a lyrical kiss. So many dreaming to touch 
you, why not reach out with words from afar? 
Reflecting your verses connecting so much 
closer, circulating each of your most secret 
fragments, pieces, crumpled ink stains
see through markings; underneath your flashing 
beauty reveals the most captivating poetry 
a voice of siren, that star is you.  

At Marilyn's grave

Still everblooming 
like the roses glowing

on your wall, despite 
everyone who doubted 

you, those who could 
never see beyond your 

beauty, your life, a poem, 
like the most perfect 

rhyme, in eternity’s 
spotlight, Norma Jeane even 

my shuttering camera knows 
you will outlive us all. 

Bio: Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is the author of Flashes & Verses… Becoming Attractions from Unsolicited Press, Between the Spine from Picture Show Press, Speaking con su Sombra with Alegría Publishing,  La Belle Ajar & We Are the Ones Possessed from CLASH Books and his 6th poetry collection La Lengua Inside Me will be published by FlowerSong Press in 2023. 
Adrian lives with his wife in Los Angeles with their adorably spoiled cat Woody Gold.

Poetry by Jackie Chou inspired by Plath,Sexton and Marilyn Monroe

The Morning Walk

I wander the streets 
in late mornings,
windblown hair brushing 
against my face,
jagged at the ends,
as if torn by a shark's teeth.

The eyes inside the booming cars 
pierce my thin skin.
I wear a sweater,
but it doesn't protect me 
from their glares.

I'm a pedestrian.
My slow steps and daydreams
get in the way of a world 
that needs to keep moving,
keep its children fed.

Escaping the Voices

The night has fallen,
turning the sky deep purple,
the color of bruises.

Outside the glass door
of the place I call home,
the noises,
and the witchy voices 
on the intercom,
are drowned out.

Some men have tried 
to quell my anxiety.
We've gone browsing 
in the shoe store,
the phone company,
to distract me from fears.

But I've come back
again and again,
to hardened criminals 
with hard hearts.
I've held them to my chest,
let them chew me to bits.

I've gotten used to 
this frozen sidewalk,
where I've learned 
to ground my feet.

The following Poem inspired by Marilyn Monroe's poetry


I have been a rose,
sometimes wishing to be the bee
buried in its petals,
the one who is intoxicated 
by another's nectar.

But life-

I have bloomed 
in your very dance halls,
twirled under the strobe light 
in satin and chiffon dresses,
red-lipped and silver-footed.

I've looked into the mirror
long and hard,
my flushed cheeks yellowing 
under the bathroom lamp, 
the years stolen from my face.

Bio: Jackie Chou writes poems about romantic love, friendship, coming of age, grief over losses, mental illness, the creative process, and more.  Some of her works are published by Fevers of the Mind Press.  Her new poetry collection, Finding My Heart in Love and Loss, published by cyberwit.net, is available on Amazon.