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Showing posts from October, 2012

Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium Photo Dump

In working through the photographs and files from the week in Bloomington, I have found the following that I thought others might like to see (primarily those who were not present, but also those who were because there is never enough). The first three are from the IU Art Gallery and features some of the works by Kristina Zimbakova and Linda Adele Goodine. The next are all from the "Transitions" exhibit in the Lilly Library. As we leave October behind, it can only be described as memorable. If you, dear reader, are so inspired to write something about your own experience with the archive: this is an open call for a guest post to get your impressions, which are as unique as snowflakes.

Sylvia Plath Symposium Panel Reviews by Lauren Benard

The following are reviews of Panels 2 and 9 by Lauren Benard, author of Plath Profiles 4 essay " Taking on a Mourning Her Mother Never Bothered With: Esther's Anguished Memory and Her Resistance to a Domestic Life in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar ". Thank you, Lauren, for these reviews, I know I am not the only one who appreciates it. Panel 2: The Bell Jar Peter K. Steinberg (the man behind the Sylvia Plath Info curtain) spoke on “Sylvia Plath: Palimpsestic Writer in The Bell Jar .” Steinberg opened by stating how Plath and Hughes often overwrote each other; however, rather than only focusing on the lexical connections between their works, it is important to understand her own influence on her writing. It is important to read her writing for her own intertextuality. The Bell Jar entrapped Plath as much as it worked for her as an enabling device. After the novel was published she better expressed her anguish. He shares that there are more than twenty similarities b

Day 4, Part 2 of the Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium: The Afternoon

This afternoon was also a good - no, a great - way to conclude the Symposium. As with the other post today, I've just decided to post my notes, relatively unedited! Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick: "Sylvia Plath and Trauma: Reading the October 1962 Poems" Part of a book on modernist and contemporary poets. Two terms in trauma studies are "acting out": nightmares and reliving experiences and "working through": the process of the subject trying to make sense of the traumatic experience. Attempts to come with a narrative that hangs together about that experience, enables her/him to begin to work through it, to put the episode behind her. "A Birthday Present" Calm and resigned voice anticipates "Edge" and "Words". Line "I am alive only by accident" is the trauma event about which the speaker needs to work through. Trauma leads to a fetishization of death. "Lady Lazarus" Founding trauma is part and parce

Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium Day 3, Part 2: The Afternoon

Yesterday, in day 3 of the Symposium, David Trinidad's talk on the biographical references and sources to Plath's October poems was an inspired piece. For those that were there, I think we can all agree that we could have listened to David speak for about 17 more hours. Or more. Culled down from a large piece, David focused on the poems written after Hughes left Court Green including "Daddy" and "Eavesdropper" and "Lesbos", among others. An extremely careful and detailed work of art, David's essay was, quite well received, a highlight included a calendar layout of the month with the names of the poems written in on the days in which they were composed, and other significant events, as well as contextual photographs that are important to the poems including the photograph of Otto Plath standing at a blackboard, and photographs take by Gail Crowther of the home the Kane's in St. Ives (where Plath stayed the weekend of Ocober the 13th/14th), w

Gail Crowther visits Heptonstall on Sylvia Plath's Birthday

Fighting through a gaggle of other visitors, the only Sylvia Plath scholar deserving to be at the gravesite today sent these photos in for us. While there, Gail planted a Blue Moon rose bush.

Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium Day 4, Part 1: The Morning

This morning's panels and presentations by Maeve O'Brien, Christine Walde, and Karen Kukil was better than coffee. Below are rough notes taken during the talks and are relatively raw. But it is more important to get this out than worry about finesse, perhaps. Maeve O'Brien's presentation: "'Something in me said, now, you must see this': reconciling death and 'the empty beaches of memory' in 'Berck-Page'", brought much attention to "Berck-Plage", what she terms a "notoriously difficult" poem. Reframe poem to focus on new themes in the poem. So many of the things at Berck are still there, which gives a tangible grasp of what Plath saw and experienced. O'Brien cited the work of Gail Crowther (" The Playfulness of Time ") as well as Anita Helle and others. Silence - what Plath mentions, but also what is absent from her poetry. What is not revealed in the beach scene in Plath's "Berck-Plage"

Review of Panel 11: Plath and Hughes

The "Plath and Hughes" panel was nearly filled to standing room only, which illustrates how important a topic this is, likely to the chagrin of some. Helen Decker spoke on "Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes Side by Side: What I Can and Can't Tell You", Rai Peterson's paper was supposed to be on "Hughes and the Two Ariel 's" but she changed it to "An Efficiency, A Great Beauty": Sylvia Plath's Ariel Titles", and Georg Nöffke spoke on "These Super'People: The Superimpostion of Ted Hughes' 'Brasilia' on Sylvia Plath's 'Brasilia'". No one in the room was disappointed. The three presenters in the Walnut Room spoke clearly and expertly on their chosen topics. Decker has been at work on a book about Plath and Hughes for a while, and with any luck we'll see it soon for general consumption. She has been working both on Plath's and Hughes' appearances in periodicals together, as well as th

Review of Sylvia Plath Symposium Panels 1 and 5

The following is a guest post review by Jaime Jost (the  Plath Profiles author of " To See What She Saw: The Influence of Sylvia Plath " in Volume 4 and " 'Panic' over Puddle Jumping in Plath's 'Mothers' " published TODAY in the Volume 5 Supplement). Jaime was kind enough to review two panels: Panel 1: Plath and Religion; and Panel 5: Plath's Influences: Lowell and Sexton, the Qabalah. Please thank Jaime (and Bridget in the post before) for their wonderful write-ups, for their fresh perspectives on the Symposium panels, and for providing us with possibly otherwise lost impressions due to concurrent nature of the conference structure. Your work, effort, and insight are all highly-valued, very much appreciated, and a valuable contribution to your fellow Plath-heads. Panel 1: Plath and Religion Emma Komlos-Hrobsky, editor of Pinhouse Magazine in New York, presented her paper “‘The Black Amnesias of Heaven’: The God-Obsessed Atheist and

Review of Sylvia Plath Symposium Panel 5

The following is a review of Panel 5: "Plath's Influences: Sexton and Lowell, the Qabalah" and was kindly attended by and written up by Bridget Anna Lowe, author of the Plath Profiles 5 essay " Burning Free: Sylvia Plath's Summer 1962 Bonfires and the Strange Case of the Surviving Christmas Card ". I had the pleasure this morning of attending the Sylvia Plath Symposium's Panel #5 on the topic of "Plath's influence on/from other poets." The panel, which was comprised of three speakers, presented their papers in the following order: Sarah-Jane Burton on "Literary Influence and the Boston Trio: Plath, Lowell and Sexton;" KatieRose Keenan on "Plath and Sexton's Mutual Influence;" and, finally, last but certainly not least, Julia Gordon-Bramer on "Plath's Ariel : The Feminine Arrow into the Apocalypse." * * * Speaking first on the panel was Sarah-Jane Burton; in the approximately twenty minutes she wa

Update from the Sylvia Plath Symposium Day 3

Today was breakneck: nonstop: ceaseless: endless: a great day to be a Sylvia Plath reader. I highly anticipate giving a round-up of the day from my own perspective, and hope that some of the kind scholars who expressed interest in reviewing the panels that I could not sit in on have reports to me before too long about their impressions, too. I think it is important to present more than my voice and opinion in this; so if you're reading this and you were in the same panel I was: please consider writing something up from your own point of view. Please. This morning the literary panels began at 8:30. Or, circa 8:30. Certainly an early start time but the people that came to hear the darling Jess McCort (and author of " Sleeping Beauty Awake: Sylvia Plath through the Looking-Glass " and " Alice in Cambridge: Sylvia Plath, Little Girls Lost, and “Stone Boy with Dolphin” ") and myself discuss The Bell Jar were certainly wide awake and seemed to be eager listeners.

Update from the Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium Day 2

Lynda K Bundtzen began the day discussing Sylvia Plath’s psychotherapy, use of unconscious in 1958 poems. Making use of Plath's therapy notes with Dr. Ruth Beuscher, Lynda referred at times to Sigmund Freud's "Mourning and Meloncholia", Lacan, and Letters Home , and looking applicably at several poems by Sylvia Plath, among them "The Beekeeper's Daughter," "Man in Black," "Electra on Azalea Path," "The Colossus," "Daddy," and "Purdah." Langdon Hammer spoke on James Merrill’s use of Ouija Board for poetry inspiration. Hammer has been at work on a biography of Merrill for a decade which is most definitely a labor of love. It promises to be thorough and excellent, judging from the essays of his that I have read and the presentations through which I have sat. This was not a paper on Sylvia Plath, but Hammer did refer to Plath's practice of Ouijaing with Ted Hughes. Between this and the 1 o'clock p

Notes on Creative Process Panel from Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium

Notes on Catherine Bowman and David Trinidad, Suzie Hannah and Tom Simmons panel on archival-based poetic and research process, animated film and sound design, 24 October 2012, 1:30-2:50 Poetic based research, animated film, and sound design. By Susan McMichael What makes us Plathofiles? Is it a line? Is it a book (eg reading The Bell Jar , or a teacher? What happens when you are lucky enough to be in the Lilly Library with Sylvia Plath's works, boxes, things, and to examine the dresses she made as a child in the 1940s, the paper dolls, the ephemera, her paintings? What is text? Is it the poem? No, not at all. These people cry, it is this, and this, look and listen, see. All four of the presenters in this panel showed is how with colour and sound, what influenced Plath in creating her poetry. As someone fascinated by Sylvia Plath's work and life for more than 30 years, I found the works, separate from the archive, but clearly related to the poetry, more interesting.

Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium: Panel Presentation Pre-Meeting

Are you going to the literary panels at the Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium?  On 11 October I requested that people attending consider taking notes during the panels sessions and writing up mini reviews to appear on this blog. Happily, I got two such takers immediately. But there are far more panels going on simultaneously for the three of us to faithfully report to this blogs readers. Therefore... So, the panel presentations pages is located here . What I'm proposing is that anyone interested in participating in this to please look for me Thursday, 25 October 2012, at 5:30 PM in the IMU Whittenberger Auditorium. Then, we can discuss what interests us and assign panels and papers to review. It shouldn't take too long, & so maybe we can go grab a drink & some food afterwards in town? Talk Plath? I didn't say this before, but the reviews should be to me as soon as possible after the presentation is given: ideally the same day. Full credit to you will naturally be g

Update from the Archive Day 3 & from the Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium Day 1

Today was a continuation of research into Sylvia Plath's pocket book calendars in the Lilly Library. I had to double-back to finish the 1954-1955 calendar and I am still in amazement at the level of recorded detail that is available. The other day I commented about how a visit to the archives to read through everything could mean never having to read a biography of Plath and I think I still stand by that: though obviously the biographer's narrative lends a particular color to her life's story. Which can be interesting; like in a similar fashion to criticism: it's far more interesting to read the original writing than criticism about that writing. Though often it is interesting to see how the critics make connections and bring out hidden elements. I spent a brief time re-looking at the Plath Mss materials that were acquired in 1961 as I needed to do some follow-up things. But I think the real focus of the day was the start of the Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium. Today

Update from the Archive Day 2

This morning I continued looking at Sylvia Plath's calendars in Plath mss II, Box 7, Folder 6. The calendar was October 1955 - early October 1956: or, her first year as a Fulbright Scholar at Newnham College, Cambridge University. The majority of the morning was spent comparing undated letters to a former boyfriend, J Mallory Wober, to the minute details Plath recorded in her calendar. The structure of her days at Newnham are meticulously recorded down the hour, including lectures, ADC rehearsals, meetings for tea and sherry, dates, letters written, papers due, food consumed, physical ailments: basically an encyclopedia of autobiography. Mostly likely caught up in the passion of the archive I will say that there is no need to read a biography of Sylvia Plath when one could simply come here (simply is most definitely not the right word since I believe this is one of the harder archives to get to - but it could be worse, no offense Wyoming: but it could be in Wyoming) and spent a we

Sylvia Plath Symposium Poster: Picture Post

Update from the Archives Day 1

What a start to the week. The week of all Sylvia Plath all the time, though saying it like that makes it just like any other week. I met the poet and Plath essayist David Trinidad Sunday evening in Bloomington where we immediately got our Plath on: what a fun, great man and we had some stellar discussions. Today in the Plath archive at the Lilly Library we worked across from one another, like dueling pianists. He was primarily reading Plath's letters, and being less focused, I was all over the place. I began with the Plath mss papers - the ones Plath sold in London to a bookseller who was acquring poets papers for the Lilly Library. These are largely poems written in 1960 and 1961, but mixed in are the odd pages of The Bell Jar and short story ("The Fifteen Dollar Eagle"). Not a lot of beefy drafts the way that her later poems are (the ones held at Smith College). However there are fuller files folders for poems such as "Wuthering Heights", "The Surgeon

Plathery Reviews Sylvia Plath's Three Women in Melbourne

A Piece of Plathery has reviewed a recent performance of "Three Women" by Sylvia Plath , directed by Melanie Thomas and produced by Caged Bird Productions. In addition to Plathery's review, if you missed them, you can see photos from rehearsals in two previous posts: this one and that one .

Books for Sale at the Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium

The following books will be for sale at the Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium and many - if not all - of the authors will be on hand Saturday 27 October at 7:30 PM to sign. There may be additional books available, too. Sylvia Plath and the Mythology of Women Readers by Jane Badia Burning of the Three Fires by Jeanne Maire Beaumont Curious Conduct by Jeanne Maire Beaumont Fugue by Emily Bobo The Plath Cabinet by Catherine Bowman Notarikon by Catherine Bowman The Other Ariel by Lynda K. Bundtzen Divine Margins by Peter Cooley Among the Goddesses: An Epic Libretto In Seven Dreams by Annie Finch Calendars by Annie Finch The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath edited by Anita Helle The Search Engine by Kathleen Ossip The Cold War by Kathleen Ossip Sylvia Plath by Peter K. Steinberg Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems by David Trinidad The Late Show by David Trinidad

Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes One Day Conference in Poland

I received the following information recently from Mark Ostas regarding a one day event will commemorate the 80th Anniversary of Plath's birthday and the 14th Anniversary of Hughes' death. It sounds like a really interesting conference. Among their guest speakers is Plath's contemporary and author of Bitter Fame Anne Stevenson. The conference will take place in the city of Katowice, Southern Poland - the seat of the Silesian University as well as the Silesian Library which is the venue of the conference. The conference is the part of the series of events marking the 90 years of the Library, although its present building is as modern as some of the poems by Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. 26th October 2012, the Library of Silesia, the Parnassos Room, K-ce, 1 Rada Europy Square 'Bitter fame' – a session on the 80th anniversary of Sylvia Plath's birthday and the 14th anniversary of Ted Hughes’s death. Host: Dr Paweł Jędrzejko 12.00-12.30 Mark Ostas 'P

Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium Final Panel Schedule

Indiana University, October 2002 The panels for the Sylvia Plath 2012 have been updated. Please revisit the panel presentations page to see the latest line-up. Although there is a recently discovered erroneous omission, I have been told the panel presentation page is final.

Sylvia Plath Archive and the Lilly Library

The Lilly Library at IU Bloomington The Lilly Library is a great place to conduct research. Many Sylvia Plath scholars will descend upon the library's reading room over the next two weeks. For some, it will be their first time working with Plath's manuscripts, for others it will be a long-overdue return to a great place. I have had the pleasure of conducting Plathian research in more than a dozen repositories and although they are all libraries: they each have different policies and procedures for handling the materials. The Lilly Library is a lot like Fort Knox: they are strict. But they have to be. Here is a list of some of the things I have learned in my five previous trips to the archive at Indiana University (as well as a few generally applicable things to keep in mind when working in libraries): 1. You'll only be allowed to work with one folder in one box at a time. 2. Ensure that the folder and all the papers with the folder remain fully on the desk at all t

Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium Panel Presentations

In two weeks the Symposium will be under way! The panel presentations for the Sylvia Plath 2012 Symposium are now online and presumed final. The main Symposium website - for all your informational needs - is here . Please review the panel schedule and the main program schedule!  Why? Because I'm asking for fellow attendees to help in reporting on panels and other events for the benefit of those that cannot attend. What I would like to do is schedule a time to meet in the IMU Conference Center on the evening of Thursday 25 October to "assign" people to write reports. So, please think about this: is this something you'd like to do? To write notes and impressions on what you are hearing? Check the blog the week of the Symposium to find out when and where we'll meet to go over panels. Please also email me peterksteinberg at hotmail dot com if you are interested, as well. First come, first served.

More Exclusive Photographs from Sylvia Plath's Three Women

Director Melanie Thomas has sent over four additional photographs from her production of "Three Women" by Sylvia Plath. Enjoy! And if you make it to a performance please let us know. Carly Grayson as the Third Woman - "A hot blue day had budded into something." Narda Shanley as the Second Woman - "The sun is down. I die. I make a death" Gabrielle Savrone as the First Woman - "Their footsoles are untouched. They are walkers of air." (L-R) Narda Shanley, Carly Grayson, Gabrielle Savrone -  "I shall meditate upon normality. I shall meditate upon my little son."

Exclusive Three Women Photographs: Starts tomorrow in Melbourne

Director Melanie Thomas of Caged Bird Productions has been kind to share with us some photographs from the rehearsal of "Three Women" by Sylvia Plath, which opens tomorrow, 9 October, for a limited engagement at The Owl and the Pussycat, 34 Swan St Richmond VIC 3121, in Melbourne, Australia. (L to R): Narda Shanley as the Second Woman, Carly Grayson as the Third Woman (lying down) and Gabrielle Savrone as the First Woman. Carly Grayson as the Third Woman, Gabrielle Savrone as the First Woman, Narda Shanley as the Second Woman Carly Grayson as the Third Woman Gabrielle Savrone as the First Woman Narda Shanley as the Second Woman   LISTING INFORMATION Title: Three Women Dates: 9 - 14 October Times: 8.30pm; Saturday 13 October 12.30pm and 8.30pm (50min) Venue: The Owl and the Pussycat, 34 Swan St Richmond VIC 3121 Tickets: Full $20 / Concession $18 Bookings: Online or call 03 9660 9666 CONTACT INFORMATION Facebook Page Media Enquiries: E-mai

Sylvia Plath: Copycat

Recently I had cause to revisit Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual edited by Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley (2007, OUP, sadly out of print). It is absolutely an essential book for Plath's readers. The illustrations alone are worth it to own. In Kathleen's wonderful book-length essay "Living Color: The Interactive Arts of Sylvia Plath" there is a reference to a book, An Ear for Uncle Emil by E. R. Gaggin, Plath read that wasn't - but now is - listed in her library on LibraryThing. Plath presumably read this book circa 1944 and was inspired to copy one of the many illustrations drawn by Kate Seredy in the book, which was first published in 1939. Plath of course learned some of her drawing skills by copying, and it is analogous to suggest she learned to write poetry in the same way: by copying. Of course there were innate skills that she brought to each art form: I'm not suggesting otherwise. In considering the drawing reproduced in Eye R

Sylvia Plath's Three Women on Melbourne Stage

Sylvia Plath's "Three Women" will be performed on stage in Melbourne, Australia from 9 to 14 October 2012. I am a great event. I am dying as I sit. I lose a dimension. I undo her fingers like bandages: I go. "Highly intricate and with an uncompromising, confessional style, Sylvia Plath's "Three Women" is a decidedly multifaceted poem based on three very distinct experiences of pregnancy: becoming a first-time mother, trying to survive yet another loss of a child and the difficult choices of giving a child up for adoption. "With special permission by the Estate of Sylvia Plath and Faber and Faber Ltd, Caged Birds Productions brings to stage Plath's only script, written one year before her untimely demise, whose delicately layered voices question existence, the ache of belonging and delve into shrouded emotional experiences of childbirth." Below is information you need to know from the official media release! Acclaimed poet