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Showing posts from May, 2013

A Summary of Sylvia Plath's Ariel

The following is a Guest Blog post by Angel DeMonica, who attended the reading of Sylvia Plath's Ariel yesterday (26 May) at the Royal Festival Hall. I would like to thank Angel on behalf of myself and all of this blogs' readers sincerely for her write-up. I hope to have other reviews of the reading from other attendees soon. The evening was introduced by Plath's daughter, Frieda Hughes, who was dressed in a black cocktail dress and gold belt. She repeated much of the introduction to the Restored Ariel and was particularly keen to emphasize that Hughes took a "painstaking" approach to the 1965 edition. Frieda stressed that she sees Plath's ordering of the Ariel poems as the "historical version" and is convinced that Plath would have changed, adapted & extracted if she had lived longer, i.e. we shouldn't see it - in Frieda's view - as an incontrovertible original version. She said her mother "treated every emotional experience as

On Sylvia Plath & the Archive

Just found this quote from David Trinidad on working with Sylvia Plath materials in the archive and thought it was worth spreading... It’s an intimate act, one that connects you with a writer, his or her energy, in a very personal way.  It’s that intimacy, with Plath, that I find so exciting.  To get that close to the source of such tremendous vitality, creativity. It is from an interview that appeared in the Sycamore Review entitled " 'the past, the color pink': An Interview with David Trinidad ." You can read some of David Trinidad's poems and essays in several volumes of Plath Profiles . Some of the best are: Hidden in Plain Sight: On Sylvia Plath's Missing Journals (Volume 3 Supplement, Fall 2010) On the Road with Sylvia and Ted: Plath and Hughes's 1959 Trip Across America (Volume 4, Summer 2011) Sylvia Plath: The Complete Pink (Volume 5, Summer 2012) "Light Borrowing" from The New Yorker (Volume 6, Summer 2013)

Surprise: Plath Profiles 6 Published!

Surprise!   Plath Profiles 6  (Summer 2013) is now live online . The table of contents is as follows: Special Features Medicine in Sylvia Plath's October Poems by Tracy Brain These Ghostly Archives 5: Reanimating the Past by Gail Crowther and Peter K. Steinberg Light Borrowing by David Trinidad Essays and Poetry from the Sylvia Plath 2012 Symspoium An introduction to "The Boston Trio": Sylvia Plath with Robert Lowell and Anne Sexton by Sarah-Jane Burton When Ariel Found Mercy Street : The Influence of Anne Sexton on Sylvia Plath's Poetry by Katherine Rose Keenan "Something in me said, now, you must see this": Reconciliation of Death and "the empty benches of memory" in Sylvia Plath's "Berck-Plage" by Maeve O'Brien "An efficiency, a great beauty": Sylvia Plath's Ariel Titles by Rai Peterson "She has folded them back": Incorporation and The Maternal Imagination by Catherine Leigh

Plath Profiles 6 Sneak Peek: These Ghostly Archives 5: Reanimating the Past

Now that Plath Profiles 6 is in production, I thought I might give a sneak peek at the paper Gail Crowther and I wrote: "These Ghostly Archives 5: Reanimating the Past". As you may know, Gail and I read a part of this paper in March at Plymouth University, England, where those in attendance heard some previously unknown Plath letter's read, as well as saw newly found photographs of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes that Gail found. We generally try to keep our findings under wraps but feel like now would be an appropriate time to possibly drum up some interest in the paper. The paper begins with this brilliant quote taken from Anita Helle's The Unraveling Archive: Essays on Sylvia Plath : "Archival histories consist of tales we tell about the archive, and of tales the archive tells" (5). This quote was a guiding force in this installment of the "These Ghostly Archives" series. We visited or corresponded with eleven archival collections at nine differe

What Sylvia Plath said & where she said it

Last week I posted a request for help in locating a quote attributed to Sylvia Plath in Meghan O'Rourke's 2004 essay "Subject Sylvia." I know a couple of people  have looked but I am pleased to say that I found the original quote and for their efforts I would like to give a massive shout-out of thanks. The quote is by Sylvia Plath, but it has nothing to do with any comment she said on the BBC "in the weeks before she died" as O'Rourke claims. The original quote as written by Plath appeared in her review of C.A. Trypanis' volume of poetry Stones of Troy  which was published in the Summer 1957 issue of Gemini , pages 98-103. The quote appears on page 102: A similar sense of fresh, first-hand observation and reaction is revealed in Chartres . Again, we are contemplating a work of art: this time, the architecture and stained-glass windows of a French cathedral. The metaphor-moral is intrinsic to the poem, working back and forth on itself, not expre

Sylvia Plath said what? where?

In her March 2004 article, "Subject Sylvia" ( Poetry , pp. 335-344), Meghan O'Rourke writes the following: Plath took pains to invest her poems with a mythic severity, and in the weeks before she died spoke on the BBC about the need for the modern poet to draw on myth while making " the metaphor-moral ... intrinsic to the poem, working back and forth on itself, not expressed prosaically at the close, like the moral of a fable ." ( full text of article ; link accessed 10 May 2013) I am hoping that the power of social interneting can help to identify the source of this quote (above, in bold). "We" know Plath prepared a script of poems for the BBC circa 13/14 December 1962. These include poems such as "The Applicant," "Fog Sheep" ("Sheep in Fog"), "Lady Lazarus," "Ariel," "Death & Co.," "Nick and the Candlestick," "Letter in November," "Daddy," "Fever 1

Sylvia Plath Manuscripts at Bonhams

Bonhams London on New Bond Street held "The Roy Davids Collection. Part III. Poetry: Poetical Manuscripts and Portraits of Poets. Second Session (L-Y)" today ( see video with commentary ). In the auction were four lots of Plath material and Plath-related material. I've been tracking the lots since the auction started and the space between updates and hitting refresh felt interminable. Here are the results: Lot 332: MODERN POETS: ELIOT, AUDEN, HUGHES, SPENDER and MACNEICE : PORTRAITS OF T.S. ELIOT, W.H. AUDEN, TED HUGHES, STEPHEN SPENDER AND LOUIS MCNEICE TOGETHER BY MARK GERSON (b. 1921), vintage photograph, silver print, showing the 'Faber Poets' on the stairs at Faber and Faber, 24 Russell Square, signed in pencil on the mount by Gerson and with his stamp on the verso, framed and glazed, size of image 7 ½ x 9 ½ inches (19 x 24 cm), overall size 16 x 17 inches (41 x 43.5 cm), Faber's, 23 June 1960. Estimate: £3,000 - 3,500; US$ 4,700 - 5,400; €3,600 - 4,10

Seeing Sylvia Plath with Old Eyes

This is newness: every little tawdry Obstacle glass-wrapped and peculiar, Glinting and clinking in a saint's falsetto. I am a fool. I admit it, I am a fool. I have been fooled. And likely not even for the last time. All year I've been fooled. So much media coverage on Sylvia Plath! It was supposed to be a sort of a dream year for the Plath scholar and fan. I was supposed to be having the time of my life ... ...that's all there was to read about in the papers -- goggle-eyed headlines staring up at me on every street corner and at the fusty, peanut-smelling mouth of every subway. It had nothing to do with me... Each Google News Alert sent my heart aflutter! Instead, it's turned into something else: my worst nightmare! Article after article after article on Plath: all saying the same thing. That is: all saying nothing! All promising sounding with sexy titles (and a few sexy authors) but nearly all delivering cliched, old-school, boring, emptiness. The Guardian kin

A Rhetorical Position: A Review of Claiming Sylvia Plath by Marianne Egeland

Look, I like to nitpick when I read a book or an article about Sylvia Plath where the author gets a fact wrong, or where the editing is abominable. There have been many instances, perhaps too many, where I have done this very thing on this blog. However, the level of nitpicking; condescension; the tone of nastiness; rampant simplistic commentary which is mask of moral/ethical judgment; the seeming inability to truly understand or acknowledge that the majority of writing on an author - on ANY author - is undertaken with a bias or an agenda; a pathological obsession of pointing out a writers' academic affiliation; and the mistaken assumption that writing on Sylvia Plath makes one either rich or famous or both in Claiming Sylvia Plath: The Poet as Exemplary Figure by Marianne Egeland (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013) is so distasteful so as to make the book - like this sentence - practically unreadable. That being said, the level of close reading and scrutiny evident in Claim

Parting Ways with Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath's friend Elinor Klein described Plath's hair in her article "A Friend Recalls Sylvia Plath" published in Glamour (November 1966: 168, 182-184) as follows: Her yellow hair, which had been lightened several shades from its natural light brown, was shoulder length and had been carefully trained to dip with a precise and provocative flourish over her left eyebrow. Her eyes were very dark, deeply set under heavy lids that give them a brooding quality in many of her photographs. Her cheekbones were high and pronounced, their prominence exaggerated by the faint, irregular brown scar that was the only physical reminder of the suicide attempt. It might be safe to say that everyone going to the Lilly Library at Indiana University wants to see and to touch the cutting's they have of Plath's hair. As such we pay attention to Plath's hair both in images of her as well as in its appearances in her creative writing. At least I do...do you? Some famou