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Showing posts from November, 2012

Unveiling the Face of Sylvia Plath

Press Release Celebration of Ariel and New Plath Portrait at Smith NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—The Poetry Center and the Mortimer Rare Book Room at Smith College are pleased to announce the unveiling of a stunning new portrait of Sylvia Plath ’55 by Susan Seidner Adler ’57. The celebration of the acquisition of the painting and the 50th anniversary of the creation of Plath’s Ariel poems will take place on November 29 at 7:00 pm in the Poetry Center. The large oil-on-canvas painting depicting a college-age Sylvia Plath with a draft of her iconic Ariel poem “Stings” in the background was recently commissioned by Esther C. Laventhol ’57, a housemate of Sylvia Plath at Lawrence House during her junior and senior years at Smith. The evening’s festivities will include a Q&A with the artist and donor of the painting, followed by readings of favorite Plath poems by students, faculty, and curators. Light refreshments will be served following the reading. Sponsored by the Poetry Center an

Did you know... Sylvia Plath and Bartholomew Fair

In the fall of 1955, in her first term as a graduate student at Newnham College, Cambridge University, Sylvia Plath played the role of Alice in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair (1614), produced by the Amateur Dramatics Club in Cambridge from November 24-December 3, 1955. Alice's role is "mistress o' the game." The role has just a five lines (and a fight!). Did you know … what those lines were? They were: "A mischiefe on you, they are such as you are, that undo us, and take our trade from us, with your tuft-taffata haunches."; "The poore common whores can ha'no traffic, for the privy rich ones; your caps and hoods of velvet call away our customers, and lick the fat from us."; "Od's foot, you Bawd in grease, are you talking?"; "Thou Sow of Smithfield, thou!"; "Ay, by the same token, you rid that week, and broke out of the bottom o'the Cart, Night-tub." ( source, with some "corrections&quo

Lost Sylvia Plath Poem Stunned Us in 1998: Or did it?

Unbelievable. Simply the only word I can think of to describe November 19 & 20, 1998. How did we miss it? How did we not know? The (Sylvia Plath) world was still reeling from the publication of Birthday Letters and the then quite recent passing of Ted Hughes. Just three articles (per Lexis-Nexis Academic) ran on this particular story and appeared in The Guardian , The Evening Standard , and The Irish Times . The headlines were provocative to say the least... The Guardian article, authored by Rory Carroll, used "Discovery of Plath's Forgotten Teenage Poems Dismays Friends." The Evening Standard tried out "Early Plath Platitudes Dismay Poetry World." And, The Irish Times said "Plath Find Sheds Light on Sexuality." The first paragraph of Carroll's article reads, "The literary world was stunned last night after the discovery of three forgotten Sylvia Plath poems revealed both sexual disgust and technical immaturity, providing an embar

Sylvia Plath Books at the Boston Book Fair

This years Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair did not dissapoint when it came to getting to see and touch rare and valuable Sylvia Plath books. There is the perennial first edition of The Colossus signed by Plath to fellow poet Theodore Roethke that I am glad seems impervious to selling from the fine bookseller James S. Jaffe Rare Books . At $50,000 it is the Mercedes Benz of books. Only, people buy cars. If only they realized that a book will not depreciate so swiftly... If anyone out there feels so inclined, I am more than open to receiving this book as a gift. Thank you. Jaffe also brought a stunning first Faber edition of Ariel ($4,000) as well as a signed, limited edition of Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes ($850) . On a side note: please for the love of sanity, alphabetize your displayed books. This persnickety peruser refuses to detail your Plath books if you do not alphabetize. Thank you. Paul Foster brought their copies of Plath limited editions: The Green Ro

2 books by Sylvia Plath Now Available

There are been two recent publications of books authored by Sylvia Plath. The first is Carol Ann Duffy's selection of seventy-five poems by Plath, with a foreword by Duffy. Published on 1 November, the book is available in the UK in hardback and on Kindle ; and in the US, you can buy it on Kindle (or order the hardback book from the UK site). Duffy's introduction was reprinted in The Guardian on 2 November 2012 . The other "new" book is The Bell Jar in a Kindle edition, which was published  in mid-August . A different Kindle version -published on 8 November- was online for a couple of days, but has now disappeared.  The Bell Jar has been available in a Kindle edition to UK customers for quite some time. While at it, it appears that Ariel: The Restored Edition is now also available to US Kindle customers. A general reminder: one does not need the actual Kindle device to enjoy Sylvia Plath's books in an eBook format. Kindle offers reading apps for your

Boston Book Fair this weekend: Sylvia Plath Books!

Collect Plath Books Yoda Does This weekend is the 36th Annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Are you going? You should consider it. It is like a petting zoo for nerds. In the past, I have reported on the rare and valuable Sylvia Plath books and related materials that I have seen and I see no reason to deviate from this pattern. So, I hope to have something written up for Sunday. I have rummaged through the list of sellers to see what Plath books they might have, and have made a couple of small requests for sellers to bring specific stock items for purchase. Small things because, frankly, that $50,000 The Colossus signed by Plath to Theodore Roethke is still outside of my budget...

Newly Published Books About Sylvia Plath

Published officially today by the Northeastern University Press is Kathleen Spivack's memoir With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz & Others . 256 pages, ISBN: 978-1555537883. Retail price: $19.95. Order from the publisher :  Or, buy through Amazon.com . Also published today is Analyzing Sylvia Plath (an academic mystery) by Alice Walsh. The book is available in paperback and as a Kindle ebook.

Book trailer: American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath by Carl Rollyson

American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath by Carl Rollyson is a much anticipated biography (St. Martin's Press, 2013). Donald Spoto calls this new Plath biography "compulsively readable." Lois Banner says Rollyson shows how Plath "both shaped and reflected her times, becoming a symbol for our age." Carl has recently made a book trailer for his American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath . (Mind you, this is not a trailer for a movie...just an advertisement for the book.)  American Isis is the first full length biography of Sylvia Plath since 1991, and benefits from: a wide range of recently opened archival collections in the US and England; the 2000 publication of Plath's Unabridged Journals ; interviews with friends and students from Smith College; and features new information from A. Alvarez, David Wevill and Elizabeth Sigmund. In conjunction with the release of this book trailer - a novel idea, by the way, to promote both the the book its

Review of Ted and I by Gerald Hughes

Memoir is a tricky genre. On the one hand the subject of the memoir is greedily consumed by its readers; on the other hand questions surrounding the veracity of memory come into the forefront. Memoirs of Sylvia Plath have been particularly scrutinized: even the ones written in the first decade or so after her death when memories are presumably fresher. Ted and I by Gerald Hughes (Robson Press, 2012), brother of the poet, is a book worth reading. In some ways Gerald is "the other" or is "an other" in the life of Ted Hughes: a dream, an ideal, that would never be realized. Ted and I is divided into three sensible parts; "Childhood"; "The War Years"; and "Keeping in Touch". Each part is further divided into subparts. "Childhood" was the least emotive part of the book: a series of broken memories, shorter staccato vignettes and mostly nondescript that in some ways could describe the childhood of any myriad of boys and gir