24 January 2012

Sylvia Plath Interdisciplinary Master Class at Oxford

This summer, Dr. Sally Bayley and Linda Gates will teach a Sylvia Plath Interdisciplinary Master Class entitled "Finding a Voice: Sylvia Plath's Poetic Landscapes" at Oxford University in England from 2-6 July 2012.

From the course description (accessed 23 January 2012):

"This class will take a selection of Sylvia Plath's poetic manuscripts as a starting point for exploring the process of Plath's poetic composing. The particular focus will be on Plath's mature landscape poems, Winter Trees, Crossing the Water, Little Fugue, The Moon and the Yew Tree and Elm in which the speaker devises and revises a poetic identity through several drafted stages. The quotient points of her identity shift between inner and outer worlds as the poems come into focus and her personae begin to speak.

"At the heart of the class will be the subject of voice and the ways in which Plath’s poetic voices are developed and tuned through the process of drafting.

"Led by Plath scholar Dr. Sally Bayley of the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, and Linda Gates, Professor of Voice at Northwestern University, the class will be aimed at students studying Plath as a subject of research and students of literature, drama, voice and music at the undergraduate and graduate level. The class has been designed to be strongly interdisciplinary and will include a session on Plath’s poetry as translated into songs for voice by composer and scholar, Dr. Will May of Southampton University.

"Teaching will be focussed on close readings of poems in draft and published forms and students will be encouraged to read across drafts, drawing connections between aspects of Plath’s poetic imagery. At the heart of the class will be an investigation of Plath’s mythopoeic body. Students will be supported to make observations and notes on Plath’s journey into a poem with the aim of preparing a final performance piece to be led by Professor Linda Gates.

"Further information is available on the website including: Programme Foci, Programme Outline, Masterclass Tutors, and Suggested Reading."

It should be noted that class space is quite limited to about 20 people and currently enrollment is open to all. While I do not know Ms. Gates, Sally Bayley is a dynamic Plath scholar. This course structure will extend the boundaries of Plath interpretation, including the relationship between the spoken voice and music in Plath's landscape poems.


Melanie Smith said...

Would love to go :C A pox on everything being so far away

The Plath Diaries said...

I would love to go but £1200 is wayyy out of my price range!

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Peter K Steinberg said...

A little more on the course:

The course will offer a close-reading approach to Plath's poetry manuscripts that will go beyond any particular published or so-called expert approach. This is a broad-ranging course designed to work closely with Plath manuscripts in order to trace her own processes of poetic devising. The course has been carefully constructed as a way thinking about how Plath creates landscape-compositions in her poetry as a way of building a private mythos. Plath's mature performance poems, 'Lady Lazarus' and 'Ariel' will also be considered, as well as a few of her earlier poems. The course will include a focus on Plath's lyrics as they have been and could be interpreted muscially, but also how they might be staged as a performance piece. Plath's theatrical imagination, therefore, is also central to this course. Several of the sessions will therefore be led by Professor of voice, Linda Gates of Northwestern University who has considerable experience working with Plath's poetry in performance.

DuncanLover said...

This will be extraordinary! Dr. Bayley is one of the best tutors in Oxford and best readers of Plath. How lucky everyone in this master class will be.

Aimee said...

Looks like an amazing course! And I'm particularly excited about the prospect of a final performance piece...such a unique approach. Dr. Bayley's teaching is not to be missed. Very much looking forward to it.

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