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The Sylvia Plath Symposium at Hunter College, New York City

Recent posts

The 60th Anniversary of Sylvia Plath's Death

2023 is the 60th anniversary of the publication of Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar  by Heinemann. It also marks---today, in fact---the 60th anniversary of Plath's death. Where is Sylvia Plath now?  Bigger than ever. More widely read than ever. There are still people desecrating her grave due to some heinously flawed thinking and beliefs. And, too, there are still legions of inconsiderate, insensitive people out there that crassly make mental health jokes at her expense. This is a sad, sad thing.  There are several Sylvia Plaths out there. "Popular culture" Sylvia Plath is massive. But, she is very different from both the literary Sylvia Plath and the actual Sylvia Plath.   Popular culture Sylvia Plath's reputation is somewhat death-centric. Maybe this will never change and that is simply sad, too. Popular culture Sylvia Plath is defined by her "depression" and her death. It sees in her life and in her writing nothing but depression and death. It does n

The Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes Summer School 2023 at Lumb Bank

It is an immense honor to have been asked to teach on Sylvia Plath at the Ted Hughes Arvon Centre,  Lumb Bank, located in Heptonstall, England, in June 2023. The Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes Summer School course runs from the 18th to the 24th of June 2023, and I will be joining Heather Clark and Steve Ely, among others.  Together, we will explore the work of Sylvia Plath (and Ted Hughes) in Hughes's Yorkshire home. My own classes will focus on Plath's prose, specifically The Bell Jar . Timing is everything as I had to re-buy a copy of the novel after I sold all my books to Utica last June!    Spaces at the summer school are limited, so if you are interested in the course, please do register . I am very much looking forward to and am grateful beyond expression for this opportunity. And, I am looking forward both to meeting new people and seeing old friends.    All links accessed 11 December 2022.


Hello. I hope that each of you is well and had a nice summer.  This is a brief blog update to let you know that later this fall, in early November probably, I will be closing down 'A celebration, this is', my website for Sylvia Plath, at the url  I recognize that many people have the website bookmarked and may even refer to it frequently, or infrequently. Like you, I do value the information and do not want to see it just completely disappear. Even I use my own website now with, possibly, alarming regularity.  So, I have started migrating all the information to a new, permanent digital asset management system called Preservica. I am using their Starter option which is free.  The below QR code will take you there. To be honest I only did the QR code because I think it looks cool. You can also just simply click this link if you have not got your mobile phone handy. Each page has been saved as a PDF. Self-referring links to images and pages on the website we

"Hail and farewell. Hello, goodbye."

The selling of my entire Sylvia Plath library to Utica University posted yesterday may have forecasted this blog post.  Effective today the fifteen-year-old Sylvia Plath Info Blog is on hiatus. Whether it is temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent is yet to be determined. (There is still one blog post drafted...) This decision is the result of several years of serious thought, reflection, and deliberation. I have one or two current projects/obligations that I will honor.   This hiatus includes the Sylvia Plath Info Twitter  social media platform (plathform?), started a decade ago in June 2012.   My website "A celebration, this is" ---which I began twenty-four years ago in 1998---may be updated from time to time, but no longer with such frequency. Ownership of the domain is set to expire in late 2023 or early 2024. It will not be renewed. I will entertain offers if someone or some entity is interested in buying both the domain and its content. Otherwise, please check the Inter

"I shall never get [Sylvia Plath] put together entirely"

Since 1994 Sylvia Plath has been a massive part of my life. For Christmas that year I received a copy of The Bell Jar, The Collected Poems , and Paul Alexander's Rough Magic . Within a year I had, at a minimum, Letters Home , the yellow paperback copy of The Journals, Susan Van Dyne's Revising Life , and Anne Stevenson's Bitter Fame .       Like the speaker of Plath's poem "The Colossus", if you allow me to slightly fudge my numbers, for Thirty years now I have labored To dredge the silt from your throat. I am none the wiser. In November 2021, when Gary Leising tweeted that he was gaining momentum to have a course on Sylvia Plath added to the permanent curriculum at Utica University where he is, among other things, Distinguished Professor of English, I started to look at my accumulation of books by and about Sylvia Plath differently. That is, I started to think about placing my collection somewhere where they may be made both more use of and better use of th

A possible source for Sylvia Plath's Fifteen Dollar Eagle

Earlier this spring at the Lilly Library I spent some time with Sylvia Plath's short story "The Fifteen Dollar Eagle" which is held in the Plath mss collection. This is the collection of papers Plath herself selected for selling to the bookseller Ifan Kyrle Fletcher who was buying manuscripts for the Lilly.  I do not know much about religion. Any of them. But I was struck curious by the following description early on in the story: And then I forgot about it until recently reading Helena by Evelyn Waugh, which in part is set in Jerusalem and in the environs specifically of Mount Cavalry. Plath's description is so real , in a sense, I got to wondering if this was actually something she saw in a Scollay Square tattoo shop, of which there were many. In conducting some Google searches last Friday evening, I found an image from 1897 of a man called Frank de Burgh, whose entire back is covered in tattoos and the image depicted rings pretty close to true to Plath's descr