Skea writes on her website that this is a work in progress (and helpfully puts the last updated date on the homepage). She says, "It is true that I am best known as a Ted Hughes scholar and I have published widely on his work, including studies of his use of the occult, but the poetic interaction between Hughes and Plath was so close that it is impossible to study Hughes' work without also becoming very familiar with Plath's. So, I was very interested to read Julia Gordon-Bramer's papers on her study of Plath's use of Tarot in her original ordering of the Ariel manuscripts."
Skea will take her approach to the 22 poems which fit the Major Arcana. The first chapter looks at "Morning Song", "The Couriers", and "The Rabbit Catcher". These are the first three poems in Plath's Ariel (that is, Ariel: The Restored Edition). For information about which of Plath's poems match with which card in the Major Arcana, please see Julia Gordon-Bramer's "Sylvia Plath's Spell on Ariel: Conjuring the Perfect Book of Poems Through Mysticism and the Tarot" from
Skea writes "The poems were not, after all, written in the order in which she arranged the manuscripts. And Frieda Hughes, in her Foreword to Ariel: The Restored Edition, writes that Plath "last worked on the manuscripts arrangement in mid-November 1962", which suggest that, as with her other books, Plath rearranged the order of the poems several times." If we read Plath's arrangement of the poems as being informed by the Tarot, etc. can there be any possible way to read their individual composition in a similar fashion? I am interested of course in how Plath arranged her poetry collections, but how do we interpret them in the order of the creation/completion? This is something I am growing particularly interested in and I wonder if Tarot plays a role in this? At least, I think a definite narrative is evident where the composition of the poems is concerned...
I think this is a very interesting development in Plath studies because it shows one scholar building on and responding to another. The Tarot (and Cabbala) are not (for me) the easiest things to comprehend and I am looking forward to reading all that I can in the attempt to better understand this way of interpreting not only Sylvia Plath's poems, but possibly also Plath's vision for the arrangement and structure of her magnum opus. I am a big fan of Skea's work on Ted Hughes, and I also believe I'll be a big fan of her work on Sylvia Plath as well.