20 October 2010

Heather Clark's Academic Minute on Sylvia Plath

In the "Academic Minute" broadcast on Northeast Public Radio's WAMC, Heather Clark - author of the imminently forthcoming and eagerly anticipated The Grief of Influence: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes (Oxford University Press) - discusses Sylvia Plath, attempting to dispell some of the "crude misperceptions about Plath in the popular imagination" that have existed since Ariel was published in the mid 1960s.

This minute was just too brief and it makes me look even more forward to her book, which should be a considerable addition to Plath scholarship.

5 comments :

panther said...

A very full minute !

I'm looking forward very much to this book too, a book which explores how Plath and Hughes had this very creative marriage in which each inspired and encouraged (and sometimes provoked ?) the other towards writing. THIS is how these two are best honoured, not through raking through biographical details in order to sensationalize or condemn.

Julia said...

I really like what Clark had to say.

Once again, though, the introduction (before Clark) said she was "best-known for 'The Bell Jar'," before the minute goes on to talk about her poetry.

It makes me wonder if these introducers know anything about Plath, or literature, at all.

Peter K Steinberg said...

Indeed. After the treatment Vanessa Thorpe gave of Plath in early September and the excessively sensational rush-to-judgment analysis of "Last Letter" I've just about given up on the media. And if you stop to think how bad the accuracy is about Plath, how much worse is it for everything else the reporters cover!!

Now, I don't mind that they preface Plath's fame and name with The Bell Jar for a number of reasons. One, though she us known for her poetry the novel is more widely known and read. At least inthink it is. It's also 'easier' than the poems. And the media thrives on reductive ease. They also probably don't realize or care thatvthey are committing a cross-genre identity blunder (CGIB is the accepted acronym for this disease).

The media seem to gravitate towards the oven, the novel, and the marriage to TH. The poems come fourth, as I see it. I'm not saying this is right or appropriate. It is what it is vi can't believe I just typed that.

But, Julia, I do not think they care. In the grand scheme of things. That's our responsibility.

pks

panther said...

"The media seem to gravitate towards the oven. . ." LOL. So true, Peter, so true. I'm a poet too, and I have friends who are poets and we joke that this is the only way to get widely read : die an unusual/sensational/grisly death. It's the only thing that the vast majority of media seem to grasp. A life in poetry (or in any other field) that involves years of hard work, dedication, disappointments as well as triumphs, rejections as well as acceptances. . .well, this can't be boiled down into a newsbite.

Julia said...

Funny Peter, I read your "The poems come fourth" and I thought, "that must be a typo."

To me, Plath's poems can only come FORTH, you know? Ha.

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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." 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.
  • Crowther, Gail and Peter K. Steinberg. These Ghostly Archives: The Unearthing of Sylvia Plath. Oxford: Fonthill, 2017. Forthcoming.
  • 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.
  • Gill, Jo. "Sylvia Plath in the South West." University of Exeter Centre for South West Writing, 2008. (Photograph used)
  • Elements of Literature, Third Course. Austin, Tex. : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2009. (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. 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. 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.

Interviews