12 January 2011

Amos reads Plath

Tori Amos was interviewed by Mr. Gee recently on the BBC4's "Rymye and Reason". About mid-way through the segment Amos mentions she turned to the poetry of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton in her development as a song writer. This can be found around 15 minutes, 30 seconds into the program. At about 16 minutes, 45 seconds, Amos reads most of "Lady Lazarus". Thanks to Melanie in Australia for the link. The recording is available on BBC's iPlayer until 18 January 2011.


P.H.Davies said...

Two of my favourite women - Tori Amos reading Plath. WOW!!!! Might have to reblog on my website.

The Plath Diaries said...

Tori Amos is one of my favourite singer/songwriters! :D How amazing to hear this! I always associated her lyrics with the Plath-world, they share the same kinds of imagery and themes:)

P.H.Davies said...

This was almost ruined for me by the AWFUL presenter. Just as Tori starts to to talk about Plath's influence she is cut off. Then he calls Lady Lazarus 'Lazarus'. I thought more of the BBC! Wonderful to hear Tori reading Plath's work - it's like two worlds have suddenly collided. Bliss.

Anonymous said...

I found the reading of "Lady Lazarus" quite terrible, rough, and unpracticed. Amos' voice was lovely to hear. ~WMC

Melanie Smith said...

I did laugh when she went 'A miracle' - she sounded 'surprised'. I love Tori's music but that was not the best reading and II can't believe the presenter did not call it Lady Lazarus.

Anonymous said...

It must be Plath week for famous female American singers since Alanis Morissette also tweeted about her today :-) She posted a picture of an edition of The Bell Jar:



panther said...

Thanks for posting this, Peter. What Tori talks about, how an artist (of any discipline) tackles the most painful subjects, this is something that fascinates me.

I also loved the Bukowski poem that is quoted. Can anyone tell me its title, please ?

Kristina Zimbakova said...

I think her tone while reading Lady Lazarus is not appropriate at all, it is fit for the poem Child, for instance, but not for that volcanic poem, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree that her reading of 'LL' is terrible - all affected and cutesy - it reminded me somewhat of the car crash that was Susannah Harker's reading of Ariel in Oxford 2007...

@ panther: The Bukowski poem is called 'The Laughing Heart' ("your life is your life / don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.")


panther said...

Thank you, Anonymous ! I sometimes like Bukowski very much, sometimes much less so, and I didn't much fancy wading through the multitudinous volumes of his work in search of this gem.

"LL" a difficult poem to read for anyone who is not Sylvia Plath! Because it is so volcanic, yet wry, in a terrible way. Deliberately attention-seeking and also, here and there, self-mocking. A very difficult balance to strike. . .Generally speaking, I don't like it when ACTORS read poems aloud. They tend to make poems sound affected, too.

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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.