Well, well, maybe I'd better change what I'm currently doing because I turn 62 this July. I just finished several poems and some short articles for a writing class I'm in. Think I'll focus on novels now....smile.....tj
From: keith2draw <keith2draw@...
Sent: Apr 22, 2004 1:03 PM
Subject: [aloha-donblanding] Hmm, Blanding died at 62
Do Poets Die Young?<BR>
By Maggie Fox<BR>
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Poets die young -- younger than novelists, playwrights and <BR>
other writers, a U.S. researcher says. <BR>
It could be because poets are tortured and prone to self-destruction, or it could be that <BR>
poets become famous young, so their early deaths are noticed, said James Kaufman of the <BR>
Learning Research Institute at California State University at San Bernardino. <BR>
For the report, published in the Journal of Death Studies, Kaufman studied 1,987 dead <BR>
writers from various centuries from the United States, China, Turkey and Eastern Europe. <BR>
He classified the writers as fiction writers, poets, playwrights, and nonfiction writers. He <BR>
did not study the causes of death. <BR>
"Among American, Chinese and Turkish writers, poets died significantly younger than <BR>
nonfiction writers," Kaufman wrote in the report. "Among the entire sample, poets died <BR>
younger than both fiction writers and nonfiction writers." <BR>
Because Kaufman studied some writers who lived hundreds of years ago, it is impossible <BR>
to compare their average age of death to that of the general population. <BR>
"On average, poets lived 62 years, playwrights 63 years, novelists 66 years and nonfiction <BR>
writers lived 68 years," Kaufman said in an interview conducted by e-mail. <BR>
Kaufman has also studied poets and mental illness. <BR>
"What I found was pretty consistent with the death finding actually, female poets were <BR>
much more likely to suffer from mental illness (e.g., be hospitalized, commit suicide, <BR>
attempt suicide) than any other kind of writer and more likely than other eminent women," <BR>
he said. <BR>
"I've dubbed this the 'Sylvia Plath Effect."' <BR>
Sylvia Plath was a poet and novelist who killed herself in 1963 at the age of 30. <BR>
There could also be a more benign explanation for poets' early demise, Kaufman said. <BR>
"Poets produce twice as much of their lifetime output in their twenties as novelists do," he <BR>
So when a budding novelist dies young, few people may notice. <BR>
"A great novelist or nonfiction writer who dies at 28 may not have yet produced her or his <BR>
magnum opus." <BR>
Kaufman said poets should not worry, but should perhaps look after their health. <BR>
"The fact that a Sylvia Plath ... may die young does not necessarily mean an Introduction to <BR>
Poetry class should carry a warning that poems may be hazardous to one's health," he <BR>
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