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), which features in "Lesbos". I look more and more forward to anything David sets his mind to do.

Equally, Tracy Brain is another Sylvia Plath scholar who continually fasincates and impresses me. Her presentation on "Medicing in Sylvia Plath's October Poems" was very well done and stayed within the limitations of the conference, much to the disappointment of everything in the audience who wanted more, more, more. Jumping off from a photograph of a nearly eight year old Plath dressed as a nurse in Winthrop during her father's final illness, Tracy traced Plath's experience with the medical world and her interaction with it in texts. Citing excised text from The Bell Jar, Plath's famous Orr interview, and poems and prose, Tracy concentrated on the bee poems, "Lesbos", "A Secret", "The Applicant", "The Jailor", "Fever 103", "Lesbos", and "Lady Lazarus".

The third day of the Symposium was truly a memorable one. It was so packed with panels and conversation, it was like sprinting a marathon. I've had a chance to meet a of people with whom I've only emailed. It it is wonderful to put faces and voices with the names. But there wasn't even enough time to talk to everyone as much as I really wanted.


Melanie Smith said…
Sigh, sounds wonderful.
I think this day was the all-time high!