This is one of those questions I have been toying with for the past couple of days. When I think about the genre of creative nonfiction, it is defined as taking a part of your life (ranging from the emotionally charged to the simple observation) and sharing that moment using the constructs of creative writing (setting, plot, character, dialogue, etc). I wonder if Sylvia Plath would have jumped onto the creative nonfiction band wagon if she would have lived to see its explosion in the literary world.

My gut reaction is to say she would have made the transition to creative nonfiction from poetry. Most poets have an easier time coming to creative nonfiction because they are used to seeing how one small point of time can mean everything and nothing all at once. Poets see the world as lessons and can mold words into a fine extended metaphor. I am not saying fiction writers can’t do that as well; I am saying poets tend to use and manipulate the language more.

Because Plath was a confessional poet, my gut said she would make the jump. But than logic came along and I recant my last observation.

Plath used words to disguise her biography. One has to know her life to see the depths of her work. Also, when she did publish fiction, the first edition of her novel, The Bell Jar was not published under her given name.

I think as much as Plath would have enjoyed and honored the honesty and openness of the genre of creative nonfiction, I think she would have stayed withing the hidden dimensions of fiction and poetry.