I kept Plath’s “Magic Mirror” close by as I wrote my own thesis. This knowledge that someone else—a literary titan who had seen me through my own breakdown—had attempted a similar project, using a proxy form to interrogate a personal psychological past, helped me.
Posts Tagged: sylvia plath
… met, by the way, a brilliant ex-Cambridge poet at the wild St. Botolph’s Review party last week; will probably never see him again… but wrote my best poem about him afterwards—the only man I’ve met yet here who’d be strong enough to be equal with—such is life.
Gothamist was recently given permission to share some of Sylvia Plath’s earliest manuscripts in a video on their website. The manuscripts, which include drawings, some of her favorite poems, and her own original poetry, are held in a private collection at the New York Public Library and are only accessible by researchers who make an appointment to see them:
The “juvenilia” items range from lighthearted (a drawing of a cat!) to heavy, and you never get a carefree vibe while looking at it.
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