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Showing posts from 2022


Hello. I hope that each of you is well and had a nice summer.  This is a brief blog update to let you know that later this fall, in early November probably, I will be closing down 'A celebration, this is', my website for Sylvia Plath, at the url  I recognize that many people have the website bookmarked and may even refer to it frequently, or infrequently. Like you, I do value the information and do not want to see it just completely disappear. Even I use my own website now with, possibly, alarming regularity.  So, I have started migrating all the information to a new, permanent digital asset management system called Preservica. I am using their Starter option which is free.  The below QR code will take you there. To be honest I only did the QR code because I think it looks cool. You can also just simply click this link if you have not got your mobile phone handy. Each page has been saved as a PDF. Self-referring links to images and pages on the website we

"Hail and farewell. Hello, goodbye."

The selling of my entire Sylvia Plath library to Utica University posted yesterday may have forecasted this blog post.  Effective today the fifteen-year-old Sylvia Plath Info Blog is on hiatus. Whether it is temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent is yet to be determined. (There is still one blog post drafted...) This decision is the result of several years of serious thought, reflection, and deliberation. I have one or two current projects/obligations that I will honor.   This hiatus includes the Sylvia Plath Info Twitter  social media platform (plathform?), started a decade ago in June 2012.   My website "A celebration, this is" ---which I began twenty-four years ago in 1998---may be updated from time to time, but no longer with such frequency. Ownership of the domain is set to expire in late 2023 or early 2024. It will not be renewed. I will entertain offers if someone or some entity is interested in buying both the domain and its content. Otherwise, please check the Inter

"I shall never get [Sylvia Plath] put together entirely"

Since 1994 Sylvia Plath has been a massive part of my life. For Christmas that year I received a copy of The Bell Jar, The Collected Poems , and Paul Alexander's Rough Magic . Within a year I had, at a minimum, Letters Home , the yellow paperback copy of The Journals, Susan Van Dyne's Revising Life , and Anne Stevenson's Bitter Fame .       Like the speaker of Plath's poem "The Colossus", if you allow me to slightly fudge my numbers, for Thirty years now I have labored To dredge the silt from your throat. I am none the wiser. In November 2021, when Gary Leising tweeted that he was gaining momentum to have a course on Sylvia Plath added to the permanent curriculum at Utica University where he is, among other things, Distinguished Professor of English, I started to look at my accumulation of books by and about Sylvia Plath differently. That is, I started to think about placing my collection somewhere where they may be made both more use of and better use of th

A possible source for Sylvia Plath's Fifteen Dollar Eagle

Earlier this spring at the Lilly Library I spent some time with Sylvia Plath's short story "The Fifteen Dollar Eagle" which is held in the Plath mss collection. This is the collection of papers Plath herself selected for selling to the bookseller Ifan Kyrle Fletcher who was buying manuscripts for the Lilly.  I do not know much about religion. Any of them. But I was struck curious by the following description early on in the story: And then I forgot about it until recently reading Helena by Evelyn Waugh, which in part is set in Jerusalem and in the environs specifically of Mount Cavalry. Plath's description is so real , in a sense, I got to wondering if this was actually something she saw in a Scollay Square tattoo shop, of which there were many. In conducting some Google searches last Friday evening, I found an image from 1897 of a man called Frank de Burgh, whose entire back is covered in tattoos and the image depicted rings pretty close to true to Plath's descr

Sylvia Plath Collections: Letters to Kenneth Allott

There were some letters referred to in this morning's blog post that I thought it might be nice to write a bit more about.  Sylvia Plath wrote two letters to Kenneth Allott which are housed by the Syndey Jones Library at the University of Liverpool. When in the midst of working on the paper that I gave for the Sylvia Plath Society's conference in March ( YouTube ), I found myself going down a bit of a rabbit hole which led to their being located. Naturally I wish they could have been included in volume II of the Letters of Sylvia Plath .  The letters date from 1 and 6 January 1961. In the first letter, written almost immediately upon return from the terrible visit to Yorkshire, Plath gives permission for Allott to reprint "Frog Autumn" and "Metaphors" in his anthology, Penguin Book of Contemporary Verse 1918–60 , 2nd edition (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1962, pp. 388–90), and provides some biographical details about herself. The second letter written just

Sylvia Plath and the Glascock Poetry Contest

The following is the text from a paper I presented on 12 March 2022 for the Sylvia Plath Society's "Sylvia Plath Across the Century" conference. I am grateful to Dr Dorka Tamás, Kitty Shaw, and Julie Irigaray for organizing and hosting this important conference. A recording of this talk is available on the Sylvia Plath Info YouTube page . Sylvia Plath was a part of three Kathryn Irene Glascock Poetry Prize competitions. In April 1955, she was a participant. The archive at Mount Holyoke holds the two photographs of Plath with Marianne Moore and her fellow contestants on the left. The other images come from Plath’s scrapbook held by the Lilly Library. Another instance whereby piecing together aspects of Plath’s life and work spans the physical boundaries or building and states. Additionally, Mt Holyoke has typescripts of the poems she read including "April Aubade", "Danse Macabre", "Epitaph in Three Parts", "Lament", "Love is a P

Some final photographs of Sylvia Plath

Susan O'Neill-Roe took a series of photographs of Sylvia Plath and her children from October to late November (or maybe early December) 1962 while she was a day nanny/mother's help at Court Green. From nearby Belstone , it was a short drive to North Tawton and the aid she provided enabled Plath to complete the masterful October and November poems and also to make day or overnight trips to London for poetry business and other business.  Some of O'Neill-Roe's photographs are well-known.  However, a cache of photographs formed a part of the papers of failed biographer Harriet Rosenstein. They were sold separately from the rest of her papers that went to Emory. I was fortunate enough to see low resolution scans of them a while back so please note these are being posted today as mere reference quality images.  There are two series here. The first of the children with Plath dressed in red and black. (This should be referred to in the future, please, as Plath's  Stendhal-c

Illustrated edition of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

This Autumn, Faber and Faber are issuing an edition of The Bell Jar illustrated by Beya Rebaï.  In their Autumn 2022 catalog, a draft of the cover was featured:  To be published on 6 October 2022, the book's ISBN is 9780571373079. The hardback price is £14.99. It will be 256pp. Available for pre-order on . All links accessed 25 June 2022.

Sylvia Plath at Mid-Year 2022

While not a full year in review, this blog post looks back from January to yesterday to summarize what went on in the world of Sylvia Plath as I lived it. My own experiences are limited and not exhaustive, but I hope this summary is in some way useful. There were two books to come out so far: Patricia Grisafi's Breaking Down Plath in February and The Bloomsbury Handbook to Sylvia Plath in April co-edited by Anita Helle, Amanda Golden, and Maeve O'Brien.  There have been, also, two conferences on Plath this year already. The Sylvia Plath Society hosted a Zoom conference in March (read my text here; watch a video here ) and Emily Van Duyne pulled off a hybrid event in May ( read my text here ). There is a Sylvia Plath Literary Festival taking place this coming October in Hebden Bridge that will also, likely be hybrid, which is being organized by Sarah Corbett and Ian Humphreys. Look to their Twitter accounts for all the lastest information.  There was a major archive acquired

Did you know:... Caution: Sylvia Plath's "Three Women" in Winter Trees

In November 2010 I visited for a day the Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland, College Park, to work with the Frances McCullough papers. Recently browsing through the notes made there, I was reminded about a "Did you know..." post that I wanted to write. So it only took me 12 years... The UK edition of Plath's Winter Trees  was published on 27 September 1971. The American edition was issued 51 weeks later on 20 September 1972.  In working with the proofs of the book that are there, I noticed some additional text in the preliminary pages of one of these editions. Did you know... the US edition prints a caution opposite the "Note" by Ted Hughes which is absent from the Faber counterpart? Faber Harper & Row CAUTION Lawless Americans!