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Showing posts from October, 2007

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 through

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 Historica

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 sim

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 mos

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 an

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 exhibition in th

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, small Rothermere ~ ‘

New edition: Chapters in a mythology: The poetry of Sylvia Plath

Sutton Publishing of Stroud, Gloucestershire, is issuing Judith Kroll's Chapters in a mythology: The poetry of Sylvia Plath in its first UK edition. This edition includes a new, long Foreword by Kroll. Word on the street is that Sutton is trying to have the book available at the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium; so in addition to your well-read US copies, be on the lookout for this item. There is space on my bookshelf for it, how about you? Sutton also published Lynda K. Bundzten's eye-opening work, The Other Ariel (2003) and Ronald Hayman *%^$&#* biography, The death and life of Sylvia Plath (2005).

Edge on stage

The one actress play Edge , about Sylvia Plath, written and directed by Paul "Rough Magic" Alexander and starring the lovely Angelica Torn, is now on the Theatres at 45 Bleecker Street, in Manhattan's East Village. The theatres are located on the north side of Bleecker Street, between Lafayette & Mott Streets. Tickets are $35 - $45, the telephone number is 212/239.6200. Performances are Thursday - Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm. The play lasts 2 hours, 15 minutes and has one intermission. For more information, please visit the Edge web site .

Sylvia Plath collections, Selden Rodman, 1938-1959

The Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University recently posted a new collection to WorldCat, the "Selden Rodman collection, 1938-1959". Here is the abstract to the collection: "The collection contains correspondence, poetry, writings, and printed material collected by Selden Rodman from 1938-1959. The collection focuses on Ted Hughes and W.H. Auden, and includes handwritten and typed drafts of poems by Hughes and Auden, correspondence to Selden Rodman, writings by Rodman concerning Auden, printed and manuscript drafts of reviews by Auden, and newspaper clippings. The collection also includes two typewritten poems by Sylvia Plath. The collection sustained heavy fire and water damage prior to acquisition. Some items are not fully intact or may be difficult to read." According to the staff at the Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Library, the two poems are "Full Fathom Five" and "Sculptor". Selden Rodman is not a name I know

Abstracts online for Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium

Having trouble deciding which of the concurrent sessions to attend based solely on title/topic? Well, your decision just got easier! For those attending, or wishing they were attending the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium, which starts in eight short days, the abstracts and biographies of Symposium participants have been posted to the Symposium's main web site . To read them, click the link just above and then click Full Programme.

Letters of Ted Hughes now available

Today is a good book day!! In addition to Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual , the Letters of Ted Hughes, edited by Christopher Reid, is now available, according to Waterstones and other UK bookshops. Recently, the Telegraph online serialized excerpts of Hughes's letters regarding Sylvia Plath. This promises to be an invaluable addition to Plath and Hughes scholarship.

Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual , and other UK bookstores, list that Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual is in stock.

Sylvia Plath collections: Photographs from the Kathryn Irene Glascock Poetry contest records

The Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, featured in posts on 21 June and 27 September , have a selection of images available online as part of their digital collections. As part of their Glascock Poetry Contest records, they have made available two photographs of Plath. One is from 1955, as a contestant. The second is from 1959, as a judge. Provided that the links stay consistent, if you click here you will see a search result for the word "Plath". The 1959 picture was new to me; the 1955 is amongst my least favorite and likely the least flattering photograph of Plath out there. If the link above does not work, this one should take you straight to the 1959 image. If the link above does not work, this one should take you straight to the 1955 image.

Sylvia Plath's "Pigeon Post"

On 18 September I posted about Sylvia Plath broadsides. I referred to a broadside of a poem entitled "Pigeon Post". On a recent visit to Smith College , I found this poem in the working papers for Plath's Collected Poems . These working papers contain all known versions of Plath's poetry, either in typescript or printed version. It's a very remarkable part of the collection that I didn't know existed. The typescript indicates this to be a poem belonging to the 'Cambridge Manuscript', poems Plath submitted as part of her final examinations as a student at Newnham College, Cambridge University. This dates the poem between 1955 and 1957; but as it was not included in The Collected Poems , it can be presumed to be from 1955. Only three libraries list themselves as owning this broadside, the University of Chicago, Princeton, and Cambridge University. I obtained a high quality digital scan of the broaside in the mail the other day. It's the poem, c

Sylvia Plath event: 28 November, Southbank Centre, London

Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual is the title of an event taking place on Wednesday 28 November 2007, 7:45 P.M, in the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre in London. Tickets are £10, with a limited number available at concession rates. In this unique, illustrated event, artist Stella Vine joins playwright Elisabeth Gray and poet Clare Pollard to discuss what Sylvia Plath means to them, her continuing legacy, and their perspectives on Plath in the light of these new discoveries. The event is chaired by Sally Bayley. Sylvia Plath’s position as a cultural icon and as a hugely influential writer is unassailable. With the publication of Eve Rhymes: Sylvia Plath’s Art of the Visual, co-editors Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley present fascinating new material about Plath as a painter and as a reader, and how these influenced her development as a writer. For more information, or to book tickets, please visit the Southbank Centre's website.

Event: Diane Middlebrook at Jesus College, Cambridge

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. This is part of the Gender Studies Public Events Series sponsored by Cambridge University Press. Other books by Diane Middlebrook: Anne Sexton: A Biography Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton Ovid Diane Middlebrook, online .

Cheltenham Festival event with Al Alvarez, Kathleen Connors, & Diana Quick

On 14 October, just three days from now, Al Alvarez, Kathleen Connors and Diana Quick will be discussing Plath in different ways. Title: SYLVIA PLATH Event Number: 210 Venue: Everyman Theatre Reserved Seating In Eye Rhymes , marking the 75th anniversary of Sylvia Plath's birth, Kathleen Connors shows on stage for the first time the poet's remarkable pictures and photographs. She joins poet and critic Al Alvarez, one of Sylvia Plath's personal friends, and actress Diana Quick, who reads a selection of her poetry, to celebrate her life and share some fascinating new insights into Plath's extraordinary creativity. Duration 60 minutes. Special Note: Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual , edited by Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley will be on sale at the event.

Sylvia Plath collections: Sylvia Plath VI poems

Another Plath manuscript formerly for sale was "SYLVIA PLATH VI POEMS. (A.M.S., autographed manuscript signed)." This notebook, described in detail below, sold several years ago. The bookseller recently advised me that it may have gone to an institution in New York, though he is unsure which one it may be. I've searched the catalogs of Cornell, Columbia, and NYU, as well as WorldCat and found nothing. If anyone has worked with or seen this notebook, the Loch Ness of Plath manuscripts, please let me know! Paragraphs added by me. "Wellesley, MA: circa 1944-45, original notebook, signed, ruled pages wire-stitched in original cloth reinforced red paper covers. The title "Sylvia Plath VI Poems" is written in the author's hand on a white label with double ruled red border, and applied to the upper center of the front cover. "The following description is taken from the letter of authenticity which accompanies the notebook: "Sylvia Plath created t

Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual

Oxford University Press has updated the publication date for Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual . Look for availability around 18 October 2007; or, just eight days from now! Other information: Price: £25.00 (hardback) ISBN-13: 978-0-19-923387-8 Eye Rhymes will be for sale at the Sylvia Plath 75th Year Symposium. In the US, look for availability in December.

Corrected carbon typescripts for Ariel

Plath's Ariel manuscripts are held mostly by Smith College. As I reported here, the Houghton Library and Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard hold "Tulips". The recently published Ariel: The Restored Edition is a blessing to Plath scholars. The addition of facsimile typescripts gives the reader an idea of the holdings; though, seeing the real thing cannot be matched. One day, maybe all of her typescripts in facsimile will be available commercially. Not too long ago the following collection of Ariel typescripts was for sale. In the book world, literary manuscripts are among the rarest of the rare as well as the biggest ticket items. There are a couple of manuscript poems by Plath from the 1940s for sale ("Snowflake Star" and "The King of the Ice"). However, in the last five years or so, two sets of poems were on the market. This post will cover a very rare, interesting set of Plath's Ariel poems that was for sale but was recently removed from

Review of The Unraveling Archive: essays on Sylvia Plath

For more than four decades, Plath's greatest achievement has been her suicide. The focus is displaced, severely, from where it ought to be: on the writing. Certain milestones throughout the decades perpetuated and expanded upon Plath's dark ending. Robert Lowell's introduction to the first American edition of Ariel set the tone, ''These poems are playing Russian roulette with six cartridges in the cylinder.'' His comment is presumably on the poems, but the image reflects more upon her final act. In the 1970s, Plath's fan base grew thanks in part to the feminist movement. However, a vision or label of Plath as a hysterical writer affixed itself to an image of Plath as a strictly suicidal writer. Popular culture refers to Plath in books and television, as well as in the music and film industry. These references continue the stereotypes already mentioned, as a hysterical suicide. Most recently, Fox's House (played by Hugh Laurie) referred to a de

Third link to Ted Hughes's letters

I have added the third and final link to the Telegraph's serialisation of the forthcoming Letters of Ted Hughes . The letters cover a period from 1969 to 1998, and covers the period of Sylvia Plath publications through the 1970s and 1980s, and through his Birthday Letters . To see the article and excerpts, please see the post from 6 October.

Links to Letters of Ted Hughes

As reported earlier today, the Telegraph is running extracts of Ted's letters, with a particular focus on letters to or about Sylvia Plath. For part one, please click here . For part two, please click here . For part three, please click here . (Added 7 October 2007)

New book: Letters of Ted Hughes

Faber will release the Letters of Ted Hughes , edited by Christopher Reid, on 1 November 2007. The Telegraph recently ran an article , announcing their intention to print extracts in the coming days. I do quite adore the Telegraphs honesty in pulling extracts, "We have, inevitably, concentrated on the relationship with Sylvia Plath, the subject of an enduringly prurient, non–literary fascination." The mammoth 800-page book will retail for £30.00, but if you buy it early - from for example, you could save as much as 50%. Since 2000, large volumes of letters of some of the twentieth centuries greatest poets such as Dylan Thomas and Robert Lowell have been published. These tomes add much to our understanding of the poets lives. A collected letters of Sylvia Plath would be a most welcome addition to this genre. Having read many unpublished letters in the archives held at Smith College, Indiana University, and King's College, Cambridge University, there is

Sylvia Plath event in London on 20 November

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 The Other Sylvia Plath (Longman: 2001).

New book: The Writer's Brush by Donald Friedman

There is a new book out, The Writer's Brush by Donald Friedman. See the link for a complete description of the book . Sylvia Plath's tempura "Two women reading" is on the cover! This book appears to be on sale nationwide. Plath's artwork, and this one in particular, was one of the highlights of the 2002 Eye Rhymes exhibit at the 2002 Sylvia Plath Symposium at Indiana University. Strangely, though, the image is reversed from that which appears on the a web site announcing the Eye Rhymes exhibit. A color reproduction of "Two women reading" also appears in Kathleen Connors essay, "Visual art in the life of Sylvia Plath: Mining riches in the Lilly and Smith archives," which can be found in Anita Helle's The Unraveling Archive: essays on Sylvia Plath . Accompanying the books publication is an exhibit. Currently the exhibit is on at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in NYC through 27 October, 2007. Anita Shapolsky Gallery 152 E 65th Street New York,

Elaine Connell

It is with great sadness that I report here of Elaine Connell's passing on 1 October 2007. I met Elaine in February 2003 and spent a week with her, her partner Chris, and Morgan. It was quite a memorable week; they were very good company and made me feel very much at home. Elaine's book Sylvia Plath: Killing the Angel in the House and the Sylvia Plath Forum are great legacies to the Sylvia Plath canon. Elaine Connell will be missed. Rest in peace.

Sylvia Plath collections: Edward Weeks papers, ca. 1934-1989

The Massachusetts Historical Society holds the Edward Weeks papers, ca. 1934-1989. This collection consists of personal papers of Edward Weeks, writer and editor of the Atlantic Monthly magazine. Papers include personal correspondence, lectures, notes on writings, and materials on fishing. There are some Plath related materials in this collection. I found the following earlier this year. 1) From: Edward Weeks To: Margaret Clapp, 29 January 1957. Letter discusses Plath's completing her degree at Cambridge. Includes some or all of a letter by Plath detailing her travels and experiences abroad as well as her intention to get a teaching job when she returns to Massachusetts. Weeks sent the letter to Clapp asking, "Is she worth looking into as a possible instructor in English" at Wellesley College, where Clapp worked. 2) From: Margaret Clapp, To: Edward Weeks, 1 February 1957. Lets Weeks know that she forwarded his note to the English department. She seemed doubtful as Wellesl