Posts Tagged: sylvia plath
To go with her contribution, Didion had to provide a few sentences about herself. Excavated from the Mademoiselle archives, what she wrote shows a still somewhat green, aspiring writer with a sentimental attachment to home: “Joan spends vacations river-rafting and small-boating in the picture-postcard atmosphere of the Sacramento Valley.” Among her interests, she lists “almost any book every published.”
Over at The New Republic, Laura Marsh reviews The Last Love Song, in which biographer Tracy Daugherty combs through the archives at Mademoiselle, where a 21-year-old Joan Didion worked as an intern....more
I don’t know whether it is a hereditary characteristic, but our little family is altogether too prone to lie awake at nights hating ourselves for stupidities—technical or verbal or whatever—and to let careless, cruel remarks fester until they blossom in something like ulcer attacks—I know that during these last days I’ve been fighting an enormous battle with myself.
Why Plath? People are surprised or disappointed or embarrassed when I automatically cite her as one of my writing influences, one of my life influences. I think it’s because of the stigma of suicide and ingrained bias. She’s a polarizing figure, serving as a feminist icon or a creative failure, depending on the person wearing the judges’ robes.
Plath chose to end her Ariel with four of the five-poem sequence Hughes buried in the middle, the so-called “bee poems.”
When Sylvia Plath died, her husband Ted Hughes rearranged the poems in Ariel, Plath’s most famous collection, to reflect his wife’s biographical arc, thus putting the darker writing at the end....more
Like most of her peers, Plath relished consumerism; on her weekends off in New York, “she went straight to Bloomingdale’s in search of another pair of black pumps.”
Here’s to another reminder that the mythology can obscure the truth. While Plath was probably without a pair of rose-colored glasses, she wasn’t all Eeyor all the time....more
Open Culture’s Josh Jones suggests listening to Sylvia Plath perform her poems out loud as a way to encounter them anew, “without the morbid celebrity baggage Plath’s name carries.”
They do seem, in some ways, like completely different poems when you hear them in her voice, the wildness and rawness all alchemized into gravitas....more
Sylvia Plath is known as a writer and a poet, but she almost became a visual artist instead. Plath’s daughter, Frieda Hughes, who is also a painter and a poet, has created a book out of more than forty of her mother’s drawings....more
Sylvia Plath has always been a polarizing figure, a fact underscored by the reaction to editions of her work recently released to mark fifty years since her death.
Are her poems humorless or funny to the point of kitschiness? Was Ted Hughes a “craggy, carnal bogeyman,” or a long-suffering husband “more sinned against than sinning”?...more
Via the Poetry Foundation, Open Culture has a 23-minute experimental film by Sandra Lahire using audio of Sylvia Plath reading her poems aloud.
Mixing images of Plath’s obsessions (ouija boards, horses, violent self-harm) with photographs of the poet and her work, the film delves deeply into an existence that Plath herself, in a voice-over interview, calls “living on air.”
Perfect for those of us who wish Plath would out of the ash rise with her red hair....more
I can imagine complaining along these lines in an editorial meeting at a British publishing house, and being sighed at: “Yes, of course the 1960s cover is beautiful – I love it – but Waterstones and Tesco won’t stock it.”
At the London Review of Books‘ blog, Fatema Ahmed takes a critical look at the cover of a new edition of The Bell Jar, which depicts a woman applying makeup....more
How much of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is autobiographical, and how much is fictional?
Is her unflinching exploration of suicidal depression more meaningful if it’s a record of real life or if it’s invented?
The Guardian tackles these questions (and posts a fun, short video interview with the designer of the book’s original cover)....more
Sylvia Plath may not be best known for her paper dolls, but we don’t usually envision Mark Twain as an avid fan of scrapbooking, either.
Check out this cool collection of the artwork of famous authors, which also includes William Burroughs’s gunshot paintings and Charles Bukowski’s watercolors....more
“It’s always interesting when a very strange book is also an enduringly popular book.”
This Poetry Foundation essay is appreciating The Bell Jar, which is embarking on its 40th year of publication. Initially unnoticed for its literary prowess in Britain, it’s been sustainably successful here, and most likely had a profound presence during your teenage years....more