22 November 2013

Sylvia Plath Collections: Kenyon Review

The archives of the Kenyon Review (journal website), held by Greenslade Special Collections and Archives of the Olin Library at Kenyon College, contains a small amount of Sylvia Plath materials. These include two letters and two typescript poems. The letters are addressed to the Kenyon Review editor Robie Macauley (obituary) and are dated 28 November 1959 and 5 May 1960. The typescript poems are "The Bee-Keeper's Daughter" and "The Colossus." These two poems appeared in the Autumn 1960 issue.

The first letter from 28 November 1959 expresses delight at the acceptance of these two poems, and gives a brief biographical sketch. Plath mentions graduating from Smith College and her Fulbright to Cambridge University; and lists the following periodicals in which her poetry has previously appeared: Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, The Hudson Review, The New Yorker, The Partisan Review, Poetry (Chicago), and The Sewanee Review. Plath, mere weeks from relocating to England, closes the letter with her forwarding address of The Beacon in Heptonstall.

The second letter dated 5 May 1960 is one of courtesy, letting Macauley know that her first book of poems, The Colossus had been accepted in England and would appear in the fall or early winter. She expressed concern for the timing of her poems' appearance in the Kenyon Review and sought to avoid scheduling conflict. Plath informs Macauley that her address was currently 3 Chalcot Square.

Both typescripts bare Plath's 26 Elmwood Road, Wellesley address and are marked up with editorial instructions in red pencil. In her first letter Plath typed the poem title as "The Bee-Keeper's Daughter" (note the hyphen). However, in the typescript, the poem title appears as "The Beekeepers Daughter" (no hyphen).

Thanks must be made to Alexander Koch of the Archives and Special Collections at Kenyon University for his amazing helpfulness and efficiency.

You can see more libraries that hold Plath materials on the Archival Materials page of my website for Sylvia Plath, A celebration, this is.

All links accessed 4 September 2013.


BridgetAnna said...

how do you think she ultimately intended it-- bee-keeper or beekeeper--?

Peter K Steinberg said...

B-master flash,

As the poem was published in the Kenyon Review and The Colossus as "Beekeepers" (sans hyphen) that we can be reasonably certain Plath didn't want the hyphen there.


BridgetAnna said...

Agreed. I'm a huge dash/hyphen lady so I'd have gone for the hyphen but I think the correct spelling just may be sans hyphen.
b-mastah flash yo!

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