In June, I posted that if any of the contributors were interested in publishing a guest post/abstract of their paper on this blog, to send something my way. This after detailing one of my papers that will be in Plath Profiles 3. One brave soul did!
The following was sent to me by Julia Gordon-Bramer, who contributes "Sylvia Plath's Spell on Ariel: Conjuring the Perfect Book of Poems Through Mysticism and the Tarot" to Plath Profiles 3. Julia says,
I first fell in love with the work of Sylvia Plath reading The Bell Jar, about twenty-two years ago. At that time, I hadn’t read any of her poetry, save for “Mad Girl’s Love Song,” which was printed in the back of my novel’s edition. I was strangely attracted to this poem, and I Xeroxed it at my work, carrying this little villanelle around in my wallet for many years, alongside pictures of my children and other important keepsakes. It meant that much to me, and I wasn’t even sure that I could explain why. Years later, I read more of her work, knowing little about form, theory, or how Plath’s poetry compared to other greats. All I knew was the sounds, the rhythms, and how her writing made me feel. I was caught in the spell.
Which leads me to my work today. As those at Plath Profiles know, I have been working diligently over the last three years, ultimately proving what began first as an observation: that Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes both constructed all of their work—poetry and prose—based upon the Tarot and other mystical systems. It has been the greatest work of my life and has taught me so much, as a person, as a scholar, and as a spiritual being. Better still, it has given me the blessing of being able to understand that so much of Plath’s work is not depressive, not crazy, but rather, full of hope and inspiration. This is the reason her work has so much staying power and readership; why plays and films and songs continue to be made about her almost fifty years after her death.
It feels a bit cruel for me to keep this blogs' readers hanging, announcing a complete reinterpretation for the greatest poetry and prose of our time without including the proof to back it up here. I do want to say that I am truly honored to be able to introduce an overview of my findings, balanced with a sample chapter of my book in-progress, first in Plath Profiles 3, due out this summer. I hope that you readers will enjoy the work as much as I have enjoyed the experience of discovery.
Oh, and despite my children growing up, and many (sometimes traumatic) changes in jobs, purses, wallets and husbands, I still have that same (well-taped) copy of “Mad Girl’s Love Song” with me. Sylvia Plath has always helped me to find beauty, even in the pain.
Hi, it's me (Peter) again. Any thoughts?
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." Plath Profiles 2. Summer 2009: 183-208.
- 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 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.
- 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. 2000. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1950-1962. New York: Anchor Books. (Acknowledged in)
- 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. Sylvia Plath (Great Writers). Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.
- 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. "Sylvia Plath." The Spoken Word: Sylvia Plath. London: British Library, 2010.
- Steinberg, Peter K. "'They Had to Call and Call': The Search for Sylvia Plath." Plath Profiles 3. Summer 2010: 106-132.
- 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. "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. "Textual Variations in The Bell Jar Publications." Plath Profiles 5. Summer 2012.
- Steinberg, Peter K. "Writing Life" [Introduction]. Sylvia Plath in Devon: A Year's Turning. Stroud, Eng.: Fonthill Media, 2014.
- "Banking on his passion for Plath" by Melissa Davis Haller. UMW Today. Spring 2005.
- "Sylvia Plath's Three Women to be staged in London" by Alison Flood. The Guardian. 3 December 2008.
- "FBI files on Sylvia Plath's father shed new light on poet" by Dalya Alberge. The Guardian. 17 August 2012.
- "There Are Almost No Obituaries for Sylvia Plath" by Ashley Fetters. The Atlantic. 11 February 2013.