Still working my way through “Her Husband.” Really enjoying this read. I have checked out the Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath and am reading them as Middlebrook references them.
In the book I’m at the end of Plath’s life, which is really sad. But this is also when she wrote her groundbreaking poems from Ariel: Daddy and the poem from which the book got it’s title. I have a greater appreciation of her work after reading this book.
I’d like to read the Restored Edition of Ariel to get a feel for how she actually wanted the book to be published, as opposed to how Ted Hughes thought it should be published.
I am also really enjoying reading Birthday Letters along side this book, as well. I didn’t mention this last week, but Birthday Letters is a collection of poetry Hughes wrote about Plath in the years after her death. It’s basically a biography of their relationship in verse, from the perspective of Hughes. Middlebrook sort of uses this collection of poetry as a jumping off point for the book.
All of this poetry reading has made me interested in writing poetry! Over the years I have collected a number of poetry writing books and I’ve never cracked them open. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve cracked one of them open. I am inspired to at least read these books! Whether I will have time to actually write is another story.
Really enjoying “Her Husband,” the book about Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath I started reading last week. Since I started reading it I have checked out the most recent version of “the Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath” and today my library hold for “Birthday Letters” came in. Also, this morning I happened to find “The Colossus” at the Friends Of The Library book sale so I went ahead and picked it up. So further down the rabbit hole I go.
The book feels a bit anachronistic so if I hadn’t read a biography of Plath previously I would find it frustrating. But instead I’m really loving it. I’m enjoying the way Middlebrook is bringing the couple’s poetry into the story. I am going to like reading the poetry she references. Really looking forward to diving into Plath’s Journals.
Reading this book kind of feels like watching a train wreck. Their relationship is awful but it’s hard to look away for reasons I can’t pinpoint. At this point in my research I can’t see that he was abusive, but I think this is the general glossing over of Hughes’s behavior that I’ve been hearing about. My honest opinion of the pair at the moment is that I find them both a little irritating and completely egotistical. It’s kind of like reading a good novel where you really can’t stand the characters, but you you can’t stop reading it because there are other compelling reasons to keep going, like the writing is really good.
I fell down a Sylvia Plath rabbit hole. This article from Lit Hub was in my Inbox and it lead me to a book about the marriage of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. I am not super sure I really want to read a book about Ted Hughes to be honest, so I’m not sure how far I will get with this book. But I really liked Diane Middlebrook‘s biography of Anne Sexton so I’ll give it a shot.
I have to admit that I am not especially fond of Plath’s poetry. And I’ve never really read Hughes’s poetry. I’m sure this book will push me to read more of Hughes (in fact this morning I read sought out and read “Last Letter.”). As for Sylvia Plath, after reading the Lit Hub article I wonder if my view of Plath is clouded by Hughes’s careful post-humus curation of her work. The one biography I have read of her was Bitter Fame, which was kind of written more in favor of Hughes. It’s been a long time since I read it, but I seem to recall her being portrayed as a the “crazy woman.” Which really sucks, honestly. So I think I will give Plath another try with a fresh perspective. I’d like to read the second version of her unabridged diary next.
“I often think that Neoliberalism is what lovelessness looks like as policy. … it looks like water pipes leaking lead in Flint. It looks like foreclosed mortgages on homes that were built to collapse. … It looks like trashing the beauty of the planet as if it had no value at all. It is, much like Trump himself, greed and carelessness incarnate.”
– Naomi Klein, No Is Not Enough.
I finished reading “No Is Not Enough” by Naomi Klein. Very highly recommended. In fact, I would say it’s a must read, especially if you are bewildered by current events. She does a good job of giving historical context for our current situation and what exactly got us here. It is a major wake up call. It is not an easy read, but a necessary one.
I picked up March: Book One the other day and enjoyed it so much that I picked up book 2 today. March is a graphic novel trilogy about Congressman John Lewis’s life and involvement in the Civil Rights movement. The third book in the trilogy won several book awards this year: The National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, The Corretta Scott King award, the Michael L. Printz award, and the Sibert Medal. This is how it finally got on my radar. It floated through my life but I finally paid attention last month when it won so many awards at the ALA conference! (it is very rare for one book to win multiple awards in a year).
I can see why it is so highly regarded. First of all, the art (by Nate Powell) is stunning. But really, the whole story is extraordinarily inspiring. And especially so now in our current time. We are facing a time of dissent that will be written in the history books and it is important to look to those that came before us and how they went about their protests.
John Lewis is an American hero and, honestly, anyone who writes their biography in graphic novel format is a badass.