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Showing posts from September, 2012

Sylvia Plath Slept Here

In August 1955, a few weeks before she left for Cambridge, England, Sylvia Plath travelled to Washington, D. C. to visit her friend Sue Weller. I was going through some of my older photographs of Plath places, and realized that this image was not on my website (part of the unofficial "Sylvia Plath Slept Here" series of photos) and not mentioned on this blog. Weller lived at 1514 26th St NW, which is about a 10 minute was from either DuPont Circle or Foggy Bottom (one of the greatest names for a public transport station ever, along with Dorking in England). It is a nice, quiet street which very nearly borders Rock Creek Parkway.

Sylvia Plath Collections: ???

Last week I spent a day in a new archive that I was glad to say holds some Sylvia Plath archival materials. The exact collection and contents will be made known in "These Ghostly Archives 5: Subtitle to be Determined" that Gail Crowther and I plan to write this winter. But, because that is a long way off I thought at the least that I could post a preview image to maybe make you wonder about it. The image below is a cropped postmark from a letter Sylvia Plath sent to ...

Sylvia Plath Collections: The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library has a couple divisions that hold Sylvia Plath manuscripts and related materials. In the Manuscripts and Archives division is The New Yorker records, which holds correspondence to, from, and about Plath. The Berg Collection holds a varied assortment of Plath materials, from juvenilia to late works. This post will merely summarize the holdings, and but to learn more, either visit the library yourself (recommended) or please see " These Ghostly Archives 4: Looking for New England " by Gail Crowther and myself, published in Plath Profiles 5 (Summer 2012) (also recommended). New Yorker Records The bulk of material on Plath is in Series III, Editorial Correspondence, subseries 3.3 Fiction Correspondence, 1952-1980, for the following years; 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1977. In the scope and content note, it explains that poetry correspondence is included in the fiction correspondence file. There are also some Plath related

Marcia Brown Stern, Sylvia Plath's Friend, Remembered

Bryan Marquard of The Boston Globe has published today "Marcia Stern, 79, Special Needs Teacher in Concord." The lead paragraph online is: "Perhaps because she was an only child of parents who often were distant or difficult, Marty Stern became devoted to children. She adopted three, was stepmother to four more, and taught children with developmental delays and autism. Mrs. Stern, who lived in Concord and had been a college roommate of the poet Sylvia Plath, was an advocate for Chapter 766, the Massachusetts law guaranteeing education programs best suited for those with special needs, and a champion of early intervention." Access online right now is restricted to Globe  subscribers, but the article should be in the print edition (will update with that information when I have it). There will be a public memorial for Marcia Brown Stern tomorrow in Concord. Update:  The obituary for Marcia Stern appears in the Metro section, page B-11. Rest in Peace.

Sylvia Plath's The Shadow

Sylvia Plath's story "The Shadow," written in 1959, recounts Sadie Shafer's leg biting incident from "the winter the war began" ( Johnny Panic , Harper & Row, 1979: 143). Plath's Unabridged Journals record that on 7 January 1959 she was "finished, almost" with the story (457). On 31 May she considered it - of the six most recent stories she had written - one of the top three (486). However, by 15 June 1959, Plath thought that "The Shadow" "reads might thin, mighty pale" (496). She failed to publish the story, sending it in on 1 September 1959, along with "The Wishing Box" and "The Daughters of Blossom Street" to London Magazine (which accepted only "The Daughters of Blossom Street" on 13 November 1959 and printed it in their May 1960 issue). There is little chance London Magazine was the only periodical to which Plath submitted this story. The Submissions List Plath maintained is now he

Paul Mitchell's Sylvia Plath: The Poetry of Negativity

There is no need to make reading poetry more difficult than it may already be. Paul Mitchell does this in his 2011 book Sylvia Plath: The Poetry of Negativity . If ever there was a book that made me relish the writing being critiqued, it is Mitchell's with its excessively intricate obtuseness. It is not completely his fault; for through his application of Kristevan theories of the poetics of language (and my own imbecility), completely accessible writing such as Plath's is made unreadable. In fact unrecognizable. The "Introduction" and first chapter lulled me into a false sense of complacency. The second chapter, which introduces the theories of Julia Kristeva quickly turned me off. In the Introduction and first chapter Mitchell offers a fairly comprehensive review of Plath scholarship from the 1960s and 1970s through the very present: 2011 in fact. These are very worthwhile reads though the tone of the writing is quite pompous. In the second chapter, it was th

Two new Kindle books about Sylvia Plath

There are two books about Sylvia Plath that are now available on Amazon Kindle: Elaine Connell's wonderful study Sylvia Plath: Killing the Angel in the House . US | UK . Elaine as we all know is the late founder and moderator of the irreplaceable  Sylvia Plath Forum , Raihan Raza's The Poetic Art of Sylvia Plath: A Critical Study of Themes and Techniques . US | UK .