07 October 2010

Last Letter read on BBC Devon

Hear more of Ted Hughes' "Last Letter" to Sylvia Plath read by Melvyn Bragg on BBC Devon.


Kristina Zimbakova said...


Peter K Steinberg said...

Isn't it! Sylvia Plath Info Blog promotes skiving.

Anna said...

Hey Peter, did you find (or search for) the poem online somewhere?

Peter K Steinberg said...

Yes, I have the poem.

Anonymous said...


I would love to read the poem in its entirety. The BBC video buffers too much. I hope you post it soon b/c from what Bragg read it sounds so emotional. It would clarify a "hole" in the BL sequence for me as well. Thanks in advance.


panther said...

As my other posts on this subject demonstrate, I've been taken aback by the utter hype around this story. The hype, the prurience,the inaccuracies.

And I'd wondered why Melvyn Bragg seemed to care so very much. Not saying he shouldn't-and who knows. perhaps he has ALWAYS admired Hughes' work ?-but he is a broadcaster on all sorts of cultural issues and I'd never had him down as a poetry person in particular. But now I do recall that he himself lost a wife to suicide, a long time ago. This obviously carries a lot of resonance for him on a personal level.
And I daresay it strikes a chord with a lot of people.

But I'm still dismayed by the barely concealed voyeurism. Do we NEED to know everything that happened that weekend ? (Hughes wasn't even with Plath, she was at her friends' the Beckers, along with her children.) Exactly what happened, who said what to whom, how SP SEEMED emotionally at any given point,these are things that Hughes (and the Beckers) would have gone through over and over in their own minds.This is one of the legacies of any suicide. But as an outsider (albeit one who admires the work of Plath and Hughes a lot) I don't feel it's my business.

Anna said...


If you ask the question about NEEDING to know something or call it some kind of voyeurism, than you should be also an opponent of the Birthday Letters volume as well as of Howls and Whispers and Capriccio or maybe of confessional poetry in general.
I'm not really sure what your problem is with people being excited, with the poem being published, with it being written and with people wanting to read it and to KNOW...
Sylvia Plat's life and death in particular fascinates thousands of people and it's only understandable that we get excited about news like this! I really don't see anything bad about it, sorry.
Did you read the poem? I bet, you did. If so... why did you do it, since you don't want to be a voyeur and it's not of your business?
Because it's big news and a sensation and we are all curious. And, as I mentioned somewhere before in my comments, I'm pretty sure the excitement is mostly about A new poem, because we arrived at a point, when we read (almost) all of it and we are just grateful about SOMETHING NEW!

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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.