23 March 2013

Visiting Heptonstall to see Sylvia Plath's Grave

Today we (Gail Crowther, David Fitzwilliam, and I) visited Heptonstall to see the gravesite of Sylvia Plath. It was during a snowstorm; the winds were vicious and snow was blowing and drifting everywhere; it had to be seen to be believed, which is why I took some video. The village of Heptonstall was quite and we were the first to traipse to the grave. After visiting the grave, we walked up through the village and into Heptonstall Slack to see the Beacon, where the house was exposed to the full force and fury of the storm. The road at the bottom of the images (and video) was impassable from the snow drifts. Retiring after this exertion for a coffee at the Cross Inn was well earned to warm up before facing the rest of the day.

This was my fourth visit to see Plath's grave and the first since 2003, which was in February of that year but at that time the weather was crisp and fine. Today's weather made for quite a surreal experience in what has been an truly magical, mysterious, and adventurous Plath-filled week with previous stops in London and in several Devon locations, which included seeing Plath book author's Andrew Wilson and Robin Peel, as well as a much loved meeting with Elizabeth Sigmund in which I got to chat-Plath and see Plath's copy of the Collected Poems Dylan Thomas. I wanted to see Plath's grave especially in this year as it is the 50th anniversary of her death. The landscape of Yorkshire in 1963 might have looked similar to what I saw today as that was the year of "The Big Freeze" when much of the country was under snow and ice.

Here are some pictures of the grave of Sylvia Plath, the Beacon, and Heptonstall. In addition to these images, I have also posted two videos on Sylvia Plath Info Blog's YouTube channel. Click here to see Plath's graveClick here to see the Beacon.

Towngate, Heptonstall

Heptonstall

Towngate, Heptonstall

Church Street, Heptonstall

The Beacon

Sylvia Plath's grave

Gail Crowther and PKS at Sylvia Plath's grave

6 comments :

Julia Gordon-Bramer said...

The grave looks pristine under the blanket of snow. I will be back there myself in just a couple of months. Hopefully it will be warmer then!

Rehan said...

It reads like a once-in-a-lifetime event so to be honest I'm glad that you three were there to not only witness but also record it here. Let me know next time you hit London.

suki said...

You'll remember the whiteness!!

P.H.Davies said...

Great pics, video and blog post Peter. I can't believe you braved the Yorkshire cold!!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely pics, Peter! Heptonstall looks beautiful covered in snow - particularly Towngate & Church Street. Yes, poignant reminder of the terrible winter of 1962-63...

Enjoy the rest of your trip!
~VC

Anonymous said...

Amazing pictures. Do you happen to know if there was snow on the ground at the time that SP was buried?

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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