Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2007 fully updated

Just in time for Christmas, my website for Sylvia Plath, "A celebration, this is", online at, is updated. There are about a dozen (or more) new photographs of Sylvia Plath places, and all photos are given fuller captions and reference descriptions. Also, there are over 100 new book covers ranging from works by Plath to works about Plath and works not in English. Most of the web pages are updated too, including the biography, The Bell Jar , and the pages for Ariel , The Colossus , and other poetry collections. Later this year, I hope to add more information about Plath's Letters Home . I hope that you all enjoy it, and please feel free to send me comments.

Sylvia Plath 2007: Year in review

2007 review 2007 marked the 75th anniversary of Plath's birth, and it was an interesting and exciting year for the late poet. Several books were published, including three unique compilations of essays and a work of biographical poems. One book, Linda Wagner-Martin's Sylvia Plath's Poetry , was delayed for various reasons, disappointing many, including myself. The book is now scheduled for release on 7 August 2008. Books about Sylvia Plath that were published this year include: The Unraveling Archive: essays on Sylvia Plath edited by Anita Helle Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual edited by Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley Lover of Unreason: Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath's rival and Ted Hughes's doomed love by Eilat Negev and Yehuda Koren Chapters in a mythology: the poetry of Sylvia Plath by Judith Kroll Sylvia Plath (Bloom's Modern Critical Views) edited by Harold Bloom Your own, Sylvia: a verse portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill

Diane Middlebrook

It is with sad news that I report the passing of Diane Middlebrook, author of biographies of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. The San Francisco Chronicle reports .

Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's art of the visual

I saw a copy of Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's art of the visual at the Borders in downtown Boston this evening. The idiots shelved it under Fiction/Literature and also under editor Kathleen Connors last name, not with either The Bell Jar or with the Plath books in the poetry section. I took the liberty of moving it to the Plath books in the poetry section. They (Borders) did this for Koren and Negev's biography of Assia Wevill, A Lover of Unreason , too, shelving it under Koren rather than under Wevill, or even with the Plath and Hughes books in the poetry section. So, at any rate, the book is out there...Happy reading & viewing!

Sylvia Plath collections: British Library and others...

Over the last few months, I have posted many different "Sylvia Plath Collections". In that time, I hope that any readers found the information useful to their own projects, or that the information will be useful in the future. The following are listed "collections" in WorldCat with no library listed as owner, which is absolutely frustrating! For the sake of it, I attempted to inter-library loan one of them. This was the reply, "We have exhausted all possible sources. No library is able to supply this item. Unfortunately, according to Worldcat, zero libraries own this item. It is probably in a special collection somewhere that is unaccessible [sic.] for ILL. Sorry!" My instincts tell me these are collections held in repositories in the United Kingdom and/or other countries. At least two of these are held by the British Museum (now the British Library). If anyone out there has any knowledge to help identify the collections, the libraries, and

Sylvia Plath & WorldCat

WorldCat is beta testing an Identities search interface. This is a way to aggregate works by or about a certain author. It's very handy. I highly recommend checking it out if Plath in your favorite author or area of interest. To see a complete listing of Sylvia Plath related books, archival material, and other formats, please click here .

Eye Rhymes in USA, a review, and updates... lists that Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley's Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's art of the visual is available (effective 6 November) for immediate shipping. The local Borders in Boston also lists the book as imminently available in stores. Additionally, OUP's USA site states that the book is available as well. It is clear that the 26 December release date was moved up. Adam Philips at The Observer reviews the Letters of Ted Hughes in today's paper. A number of my pages on my Sylvia Plath website are updated: index2.html , resources.html , and books.html . All other web pages are updated, but won't be online for several weeks yet. The image here is of a test page. I am still working on formating and content. When everything is up, there should be in excess of 350 images - both photographic images of Sylvia Plath places and scanned book covers.

Sylvia Plath event: ICA London on 3 December

THE INSTITUTE of Contemporary Arts’ ( ICA ) Talks Programme for December begins on Monday, December 3 with Sylvia Plath Revisited . In the light of the recent publication of Eye Rhymes , a book of largely unseen paintings and sketches by Sylvia Plath and new essays by Plath scholars, this evening revisits the great poet’s life and work, focusing on the relationship between the visual and verbal. Poet Adam O’Riordan will be joining rapper and star of Michael Winterbottom’s documentary The Road to Guantanamo , Rizwan Ahmed; National Theatre multimedia designer, Mark Grimmer; and award-winning playwright and actor, Elisabeth Gray. The talk will be preceeded by a specially commissioned series of responses to Plath in song, animation, and film. Sylvia Plath Revisited , which will be held in the Nash room at 7pm, will be chaired by Sally Bayley of Jesus College, Oxford. Tickets: £10, £9 concessions, £8 members.

Updated at last!

My web site for Sylvia Plath ( is in the process of being updated. Please be patient as new pages, content, images, etc. are posted to the site.

Bibliography of works about Sylvia Plath

Bibliography of books about Sylvia Plath Ackerman, Diane, and Enid Mark. 1996. About Sylvia. Wallingford, Pa: ELM Press. Agarwal, Suman. 2003. Sylvia Plath. New Delhi: Northern Book Centre. Aird, Eileen M. 1973. Sylvia Plath. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. Alexander, Paul. 1985. Ariel ascending writings about Sylvia Plath. New York: Harper & Row. Alexander, Paul. 1991. Rough magic a biography of Sylvia Plath. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Viking. Alvarez, A. 1972. The savage god; a study of suicide. New York: Random House. Annas, Pamela J. 1988. A disturbance in mirrors the poetry of Sylvia Plath. Contributions in women's studies, no. 89. New York: Greenwood Press. Anderson, Robert. 2005. Little fugue. New York: Ballantine Books. Axelrod, Steven Gould. 1990. Sylvia Plath the wound and the cure of words. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Bassnett, Susan. 2005. Sylvia Plath an introduction to the poetry. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Becker, Jillian. 2002. Giv

Update: Sylvia Plath website & Ted Hughes links

My website for Sylvia Plath, A celebration, this is, appears to be back online. But, so far without the updates I hoped for this time. They are coming... And... There is a long article by Craig Raine in the Times Literary Supplement on Ted Hughes. Read the article here . Also, Tom Paulin reviews the Letters of Ted Hughes in the London Review of Books. is down

For any visitors to my Sylvia Plath website, , the website is down, and may be down for up to a week. I hope no longer than that. If things go well, however, when the site is back up it will be updated for the first time in over two years!! Something I hope you will enjoy!

Plath, in Swedish

For any Swedish readers of Sylvia Plath, Symposium panelist Annika J. Hagström (Saturday afternoon session on Images and Viewers of Plath, paper title "Stasis in Darkness: Sylvia Plath as a Fictive Character") recently published this article in the Helsingborgs Dagblad .

Bibliography of books by Sylvia Plath

What follows is a bibliography of books by Sylvia Plath, including works available commercially and limited editions-including broadsides. I will update this list as I learn about new publications. If you see any gross mistakes, please let me know. Bibliography of books by Sylvia Plath Plath, Sylvia. 1960. A winter ship. Edinburgh: Tragara Press. Plath, Sylvia. 1960. The colossus: poems. London: Heinemann. Plath, Sylvia. 1962. The colossus & other poems. New York: Knopf. Plath, Sylvia. 1963. The bell jar. London: Heinemann. Plath, Sylvia. 1964. The bell jar. London: W. Heinemann. Plath, Sylvia. 1965. Uncollected poems. Turret booklet, no. 2. London: Turret Books. Plath, Sylvia. 1966. Mirror. Edinburgh: Privately printed at the Tragara Press. Plath, Sylvia. 1965. Ariel. London: Faber and Faber. Plath, Sylvia. 1966. Ariel. New York: Harper & Row. Plath, Sylvia. 1966. The bell jar. London: Faber and Faber. Plath, Sylvia. 1968. Three women: a monologue for three voices

Collectors congregate at Convention Center

This weekend is the 31st annual Boston Antiquarian Book Fair at the Hynes Convention Center (Back Bay; T to Copley or Hynes). This is the fifth year I'll be going. Typically there are some Sylvia Plath titles; like her copy of The Colossus inscribed to Theodore Roethke, or the typescripts of the Ariel poems (which recently sold to a private collector). I've seen first editions of The Bell Jar , Ariel , and other poetry and prose collections. One highlight is Jett Whitehead's copy of Ariel , inscribed by Plath’s husband, Ted Hughes, to his friend and collaborator, the Hungarian poet Janos Csokits, in April 1967. Start your collection, build your collection, or simply come to browse at the beautiful world of antiquarian books.

Event reminder: Tracy Brain on 20 November

This is an event reminder that on 20 November, 2007, Tracy Brain will give a seminar titled "Representing Sylvia Plath". Brain spoke on this topic during the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium, impressively weaving into her paper events and "representations" taking place during the conference. With nearly three weeks passing since the end of the Symposium and this talk, the evening promises to be even more informative. The Programme for the Autumn 2007 term of the MSS: Modern Manuscript Studies Seminar at the Institute of English Studies includes the following event: Speaker: Tracy Brain (Bath Spa University), "Representing Sylvia Plath" Date: 20 November 2007 Time: 17:30 - 19:00 Venue: Room NG14 The event will be held in the Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. Tracy Brain is the author of numerous articles on Sylvia Plath, as well as the book, The Other Sylvia Plath (Longman: 2001). If anyone who reads this blog attends, please feel free

Extra-curricular Sylvia Plath events at Oxford

The Sylvia Plath 75 th Year Symposium featured several extra-curricular events for delegates and attendees. Each night during the symposium, Elisabeth Gray performed the one woman play Wish I Had a Sylvia Plath. I had the opportunity to see the play Friday night, which featured a lively but curtailed introduction by Dr. Barbara Mossberg , of California State University at Monterrey Bay. The play itself is somewhat reminiscent of Paul Alexander’s Edge, whereas Edge takes place in the last day/night of Plath’s life, Wish I Had a Sylvia Plath takes place in the last ten minutes of her life. Gray’s character is Esther Greenwood, and the play starts with her head in an oven. In fact, when you enter the theatre, she’s already there. What followed was an emotional adventure. Alternating between deeply funny and tear-inducing sad, Gray hallucinates her way through a re-creation of events. She converses with her oven in a voice ripped off from the teacher in Charlie Brown, “ waa - waa whaa

More reviews of the Letters of Ted Hughes

Recently The Scotsman and the Daily Mail reviewed The Letters of Ted Hughes, edited by Christopher Reid. The Daily Mail review includes some photographs, including a "new" one of Sylvia Plath at which her fans and scholars alike will marvel.

Sylvia Plath's Knopf editor

Sylvia Plath's editor at Knopf was Judith Jones. Jones was an ardent and early supporter of Plath's poetry and fiction up to, and likely through, the publication of Ariel . Knopf lost the battle for Ariel to rival publishing house Harper & Row. Ms. Jones recently published The tenth muse: My life in food . She will appear at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Mass. on Tuesday 13 November. Tickets are on sale via the Harvard Book Store . Tickets are $5. The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin holds the correspondence between Jones, Plath, Hughes and others at Heinemann and Knopf. I posted on this collection back in July. The correspondence, negotiations, etc. makes for very interesting reading and is certainly worth of further study and publicity. For more information, please click here .

Sylvia Plath collections: Atlantic Monthly Magazine records, 1969-1974

The Massachusetts Historical Society holds the Atlantic Monthly records, 1969-1974. Of course the Atlantic has been around a long time, but these records relate to the editorship of Robert Manning. The collection includes correspondence with and records that relate to 3,200 authors. The records are stored offsite, so advance notice is required if anyone seeks to consult these records. The finding aid is online here . There is correspondence between Olwyn Hughes and the editors at the Atlantic relating to publishing some of Sylvia Plath's and Ted Hughes's poems. These can be found in carton 9. There are two letters from February and two from May. 1) From: Olwyn Hughes, To: Robert Manning, 2 February 1970. This letter discusses Olwyn's assembling two volumes of Plath's uncollected poetry. She offers the following Plath poems: "Last Words," "The Tour," "Submerged", and "Gigolo" as well as six Crow poems by Ted Hughes. The y

Two new reviews of the Letters of Ted Hughes

The Guardian recently ran two articles on Ted Hughes, both concerned with the recent publication of the Letters of Ted Hughes . The first article, " More than a wood-full of cats ", ran on Saturday 3 November. The second article, " Portrait of a poet as an eco warrior ", ran on Sunday 4 November. A focus of each review, naturally, is Sylvia Plath.

Books about Plath in non-English languages

Please help me out... Would readers be interested in a list of books about Sylvia Plath which were never in English, like Marianne Egeland's Sylvia Plath? Or, would you be interested in a list of books that were in English but translated into a foreign language, such as Janet Malcolm's The Silent Women , translated to German Die schweigende Frau : die Biographien der Sylvia Plath . Or both?

Plath in translation

One thing the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium taught me is just how far and wide Plath studies extend across this planet. My blog here, with its lists of books by and about Plath grossly under-represents this fact. Therefore, I will start a Plath in translation list, as well as a list of Non-English books about Plath. Please be patient as the list may be slow to develop at first.

Day four of the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium, continued...

Al. Alvarez and Sally Bayley engaged in a long talk about Alvarez’s friendship with Plath and Hughes. The conversation stayed mostly on the former, despite the opportunity for a longer friendship with the latter. Alvarez started by explaining his role and presence at the Symposium. He asked Sally, when approached, if he was to be a participant or an exhibition! Laughter rolled through the audience. Alvarez read Plath’s “The Moon and the Yew Tree”, discussing as he did in Voices and Visions how the poem shows two voices, both vying for supremacy. Ultimately, Plath’s true poetic voice triumphed, evidenced in lines such as “I simply cannot see where there is to get to.” On this transformation of Plath’s voice, Alvarez says, “She said fuck it! To hell with all this English gentility.” He also commented that there is “much more life in Plath’s writing about death… There is energy…” Alvarez was quite candid. At one point his train of thought derailed, so he turned to Sally and questioned

Day four of the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium

This morning commenced with an informal morning forum on Sylvia Plath websites, led by me. As the crowd was slow to assemble, I held off on my memorial for the late Sylvia Plath Forum moderated Elaine Connell. I discussed three Sylvia Plath web sites, highlighting each websites focus. Anja Beckmann’s , Elaine Connell’s www.sylviaplathforum , and my own received some attention. I included slides details some of the towns, cities, states, and countries that I’ve traveled to in order capture physical locations in film of places where Plath lived or places about which she wrote. For the concluding twenty minutes, several audience members and I got into a small dialogue about Plath websites in general, and I showed a slide show of photographs and book covers that seemed, I think, to entertain. I was so pleased to have had this opportunity to discuss my contribution to Plath’s presence on the web, and am thankful for the feedback received throug

Day three of the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium

Day three at the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium is done; it was the biggest day on the schedule in terms of featured and guest speakers in included a very big surprise guest. The morning started with an informal forum on the Plath archives at Smith College, the Lilly Library (Indiana University) and Emory University. Karen Kukil discussed the holdings at Smith, and discussed the differences in their holdings from that of IU or Emory. She also discussed how the archives each came to hold separate, though obviously complimentary collections. The first round of featured speakers after this forum was Karen Kukil and Robin Peel. Karen’s talk was "Sylvia Plath’s Women and Poetry"; she discussed Plath’s association through the years with women such as Marianne Moore, Lynn Lawner, Elizabeth Bishop, Judith Jones (her editor at Knopf), Assia Wevill, Frieda Hughes, and Anne Sexton. Her paper drew from the collections at Smith, University of Texas at Austin, the Massachusetts Histori

Day two of the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium

The morning started with an informal, optional forum of a new journal called Plath Profiles, conceived by Prof. Bill Buckley of IU Northwest. The journal, which will be online and in print, though in print less frequently, will feature a variety of content ranging from standard academic essays to note and reactions to single poems or groups of poems, to interdisciplinary thoughts to Plath’s work. And much, much more. A second part to the Forum will take place today, to further brainstorm. Following this, Lynda K. Bundtzen and Tim Kendall presented on very interesting subjects. Bundtzen’s paper “Confession, Contrition, and Concealment in Ted Hughes’s Howls and Whispers”; which is a chapter, or part of a chapter of a longer work on Hughes. Howls and Whispers, for those who do not know, is a small, eleven poem collection printed in limited numbers (110) and intended for ownership by rare book rooms, special collections, or very wealthy private owners. They are poems written in a si

Day 1 of the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium…

The morning commenced with an opening by Barbara Mossberg. It was a passionate address welcoming all to the event, commenting on Plath’s continued, yet, rising importance internationally as a vital 20th century poet, re-made and re-evaluated, in a sense, in the 21st century. The first session I attended was the literary panel “Plath, Sexton, and the Literary Market”. The panelists were Luke Ferretter, Jo Gill, and Melanie Waters. Ferretter discussed Plath’s short fiction in relation to the Ladies’ Home Journal and other magazines for women. In particular, he talked about her short stories “In the Mountains” and its successor “The Christmas Heart”, which is held at the Lilly Library. Other stories discussed were “Platinum Summer” and “The Smokey Blue Piano”, unpublished stories also held by the Lilly. The stories and articles that ran in the Ladies’ Home Journal were a focus, as was Plath’s mistaken belief of thinking her stories were LHJ material. Jo Gill discussed, for the

The eve of the Sylvia Plath 75th Symposium

Coming to you live from Oxford, a gray day here, with a chilly raw wind. The schedule for the Sylvia Plath Symposium was updated Monday as I flew to England. The picture to the right is from the Oxford University Press bookshop. Unfortunately, Diane Middlebrook is a late subtraction to the Sunday schedule. I was able to buy a copy of Eye rhymes: Sylvia Plath's art of the visual from a bookshop in London. I have not have much time to read it, but a glance through the pages was very rewarding in an of itself. My cursory review and feeling beat my expectations; the reproductions alone of Plath's art work knocked me out. The essays by Kathleen Connors, Diane Middlebrook, Fan Jinghua, Langdon Hammer, Sally Bayley, Christina Britzolakis, and an Afterword by Susan Gubar can only add to the books value and importance to Plath scholarship. Throughout the Symposium I will try to post impressions, reviews of sessions I attend, photographs, details of Plathian fist fights and pub crawls

Event reminder: Diane Middlebrook at Jesus College

Just a brief reminder of a Sylvia Plath event today!! Diane Middlebrook will discuss Her Husband: Plath and Hughes, a marriage with Juliet Mitchell on 24 October 2007. Here are the details: Time: 1-2.30pm Date: Wednesday, 24th October 2007 Place: Jesus College, Upper Hall, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England.

Sylvia Plath broadside "Ariel [and] Morning Song"

In 1977, or before, an unknown publisher printed a broadside of Sylvia Plath's poems "Ariel" and "Morning Song". The image of a nude woman in the fetal position accompanies the text of both poems. The text, due to the background color and the color of the ink, is very difficult to read. Stephen Tabor's Sylvia Plath: An analytical bibliography does not have much more information than this. An unknown number were printed, and I found no record of any library holding a copy in WorldCat.

Press release: Oxford marks 75 years of Sylvia Plath

From Press Release: Events Oxford Marks 75 Years Of Sylvia Plath Posted at 8:50AM Monday 22 Oct 2007 'Creative Process and Product,' a Symposium to mark 75 years since the birth of the poet Sylvia Plath will be held at Oxford University from 25 to 29 October and will bring together scholars, writers, artists and actors to explore the full range of Plath's work. The Symposium will include readings from Plath's poetry by some of Britain's leading actors, including Diana Quick, Emilia Fox, Susannah Harker and Tom Hollander at a Gala event on Sunday 28 October. The Symposium will provide the opportunity to discuss new Oxford research on Sylvia Plath, Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual by Sally Bayley and Kathleen Connors reassesses Plath's juvenilia and role as a visual artist. The book aims to make these aspects of her life known beyond academia and explores the links between different forms of art. There will be an exhibiti

Event update: Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium schedule

The Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium programme was updated today. See below. Abstracts and biographies are online now at the Symposium's website . Click the link for the "Full Programme" to download/view them. Thursday, 25 October 9:00-5:00 All-day registration, Rhodes House 9:00 Continental breakfast, Rhodes House 9:30 Opening, Barbara Mossberg, Rhodes Milner Room 10:00-11:45 Literary panel, Rhodes Milner ~ ‘Plath and Pathology’ Elana Ciobanu, Mary DeShazer, Ralph Didlake, Deborah Phelps 10:00-11:45 Literary panel, large Rothermere ~ ‘Expressing Struggle and Pain’ Beth Martinelli, Pamela Ryan, Ghanim Samarrai, Isabella Wai 10:00-11:45 Literary panel, small Rothermere ~ ‘Plath, Sexton and the Literary Market’ Luke Ferretter, Jo Gill, Melanie Waters 12:00-12:45 Welcome lunch, Rhodes 1:15-2:00 Featured artist exhibition talk, painter Kristina Zimbakova, Oxford Playhouse 1:15-2:15 Literary panel, sma