28 October 2009

Frieda Hughes' Book of Mirrors out now

Bloodaxe Books published The Book of Mirrors by Frieda Hughes earlier this month, on 10 October, in the UK.

The Book of Mirrors, packaged with Hughes' Stonepicker, was published earlier this year in the US.

There are many poems of interest in this collection to readers of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.


Catty said...

In how many poems does she bitch about people picking over the bones of her mother?

Anonymous said...

Nice one! More than is necessary, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

personally I wouldn't choose a publisher with the horrific name Bloodaxe…

suki said...

Dear Catty
Why shouldn't she after all this time!
It's a fascinating book and just as personal as her parents' poetry.
I think it's really interesting to look at the use of all the texts : Plath writing about their relationship,Ted Hughes writing on Plath's books, their relationship, specifically in BL, but also in a number of other books and poems, and now Frieda Hughes writing about both.
I thought the poem about the cut out signature poignant

I thought it also poignant that one book is dedicated to her mother ( and Olwyn) and the other section to her father

panther said...

Bloodaxe certainly is a horrific name-it would be perfectly suitable for a publisher specializing in old Viking literature !

Must say Frieda Hughes' poetry makes my heart sink for all the wrong reasons. She's in an impossible position, this I know and I sympathize. But a lot of her poetry has Hughes' mannerisms-the violence, the guts-without the nuances and the passion and the (ultimate) striving-towards-light which makes Hughes' own poetry so wonderful.

And one gets the impression she has read her parents' work AND NO-ONE ELSE'S. I'm going to go as far as to say that her stuff would not have been published-at least, not 4 collections-were it not for the name.

Rehan Qayoom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
panther said...

Rehan, I am indeed going to read the book and I hope to be pleasantly surprised.I didn't want to sound dismissive.

But I do think there certainly are more than smatterings of both in the poems of Frieda Hughes that I do know.

I also think that in one sense, Frieda Hughes never CAN be a poet in her own right. This is not her fault, it's simply the way things are. She is part of a mythology-again, not her fault-and it's a mythology that is impossible to shrug off when reading her poems. The problem is compounded by her writing ABOUT both Plath and Hughes. It makes the poetry more marketable-and let's remember, that's what publishers want, however good their literary judgement, etc-and it makes the poetry more marketable partly because, let's face it, people are nosy. We are a nosy species-I'm not exempting myself from that charge !

But I will read the book-fair point.

Anonymous said...

"In how many poems does she bitch about people picking over the bones of her mother?"

In how many poems and essays and novels and articles and books does your mother get picked over?

Would you not feel slightly inclined to bitch about that?

Is it not a slightly morbid thing to concentrate exclusively on Plath's death as if that one thing along gave her entire life's work (or indeed her life) meaning?

Anonymous said...

Frieda Hughes can write anything she wants and with the dilettantes who don't know to much about writing or those who think they know too much about writing, the kind of writing nobody would spend a golden thread of lint on, perhaps investing in a brass plated trumpet and a flea circus would be a much better contribution to annoying people than trash talking Frieda Hughes.

Sylvia was a broken hearted woman and Ted was a veteran who crashed the gates of normalcy through thoughtful and bellowing prose.

Frieda, is the daughter of an American and a veteran, and you know what? She hasn't even started being polemic with her prose. Sadly, Sylvia had the terrible misfortune of people being terribly rude to her and my neighbor, Norman Mailer, would've said that rudeness slowly dissects the heart to the point the heart must depart ... forget about mood ... forget about the psyche ... for Frieda to be castigated by internet chumps, I suggest nice try ... but a daughter of a veteran may be much tougher to contend with than just the thoughtless remarks which only push buttons and have little substance to any relevancy of this documentary record of a family and their achievements and beloved contributions.

Stephen de Verges

A Girl Called Tree said...

While I think Frieda is overshadowed by the "idea" of her mother, I think her work has its own strength. Also, not to sound blunt, but do a quick search on how many dissertations, interpretations, and psychoanalytical theories are out there regarding Sylvia Plath and keep in mind that this isn't about an author for her. The ready assessment that Plath's suicide is what established the relevance of her writing means her daughter couldn't even find solace in that. She has every right to defend herself and whatever memory of her mother is still hers alone.

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Publications & Acknowledgements

  • BBC Four.A Poet's Guide to Britain: Sylvia Plath. London: BBC Four, 2009. (Acknowledged in)
  • Biography: Sylvia Plath. New York: A & E Television Networks, 2005. (Photographs used)
  • Connell, Elaine. Sylvia Plath: Killing the angel in the house. 2d ed. Hebden Bridge: Pennine Pens, 1998. (Acknowledged in)
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 3." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 119-138.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 4: Looking for New England." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012: 11-56.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives 5: Reanimating the Past." Plath Profiles 6. Summer 2013: 27-62.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives, Redux." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 232-246.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. "These Ghostly Archives." Plath Profiles 2. Summer 2009: 183-208.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath. Oxford: Fonthill, 2017.
  • Death Be Not Proud: The Graves of Poets. New York: Poets.org. (Photographs used)
  • Doel, Irralie, Lena Friesen and Peter K. Steinberg. "An Unacknowledged Publication by Sylvia Plath." Notes & Queries 56:3. September 2009: 428-430.
  • Elements of Literature, Third Course. Austin, Tex. : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2009. (Photograph used)
  • Gill, Jo. "Sylvia Plath in the South West." University of Exeter Centre for South West Writing, 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Helle, Anita Plath. The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007. (Photographs used, acknowledged in)
  • Helle, Anita. "Lessons from the Archive: Sylvia Plath and the Politics of Memory". Feminist Studies 31:3. Fall 2005: 631-652.. (Acknowledged in)
  • Holden, Constance. "Sad Poets' Society." Science Magazine. 27 July 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women, Motion Picture. Directed by Rachel Talbot. Brookline (Mass.): Jewish Women's Archive, 2007. (Photograph used)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Karen V. Kukil. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962. New York: Anchor Books, 2000. (Acknowledged in)
  • Plath, Sylvia, and Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil (eds.). The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 1, 1940-1956. London: Faber, 2017. Forthcoming.
  • Plath, Sylvia. Glassklokken. Oslo: De norske Bokklubbene, 2004. (Photograph used on cover)
  • Reiff, Raychel Haugrud. Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar and Poems (Writers and Their Works). Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, 2008.. (Images provided)
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'A Fetish: Somehow': A Sylvia Plath Bookmark." Court Green 13. 2017.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'I Should Be Loving This': Sylvia Plath's 'The Perfect Place' and The Bell Jar." Plath Profiles 1. Summer 2008: 253-262.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "'They Had to Call and Call': The Search for Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 106-132.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "A Perfectly Beautiful Time: Sylvia Plath at Camp Helen Storrow." Plath Profiles 4. Summer 2011: 149-166.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Proof of Plath." Fine Books & Collections 9:2. Spring 2011: 11-12.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Sylvia Plath." The Spoken Word: Sylvia Plath. London: British Library, 2010.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Textual Variations in The Bell Jar Publications." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "The Persistence of Plath." Fine Books & Collections. Autumn 2017: 24-29
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "This is a Celebration: A Festschrift for The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3 Supplement. Fall 2010: 3-14.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. "Writing Life" [Introduction]. Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning. Stroud, Eng.: Fonthill Media, 2014.
  • Steinberg, Peter K. Sylvia Plath (Great Writers). Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.