I have nothing original to share with you as it seems I’ve lost my writing mojo, but here is Sylvia Plath reading Lady Lazarus. It’s a brilliant poem. You can read the whole thing here.
I’m still in my Sylvia Path kick, still reading through her diaries and I just finished reading the poems in the restored version of Ariel. I am really blown away by it. I am currently reading the prologue written by her daughter, which is also very insightful. It’s interesting to read how defensive she is of her father and how protective she is of their relationship.
I want to turn around and read the whole thing again. I think is is the best collection of poetry I have ever read and it’s totally groundbreaking. It deserves all of the hype.
The journals are good, as well. I can’t just sit and read them all the way through, I have to take a break from the now and then. It feels a little weirdly voyeuristic and slightly uncomfortable to read them. But It’s really interesting to see the way her mind worked.
Here is a great video of John Greene talking about Plath and Lady Lazarus
I finished “Her Husband” last weekend and dived into “The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath” this week. I have to say, I really wish that this was the first thing I’d read about or by Plath. About 25 years ago I read The Bell Jar which I loved, but very soon after I read a biography about her called, “Bitter Fame” written by someone who didn’t seem to like her. It’s been a long time since I read it, but I remember putting the book down and thinking that Plath was just a crazy lunatic. Which is really sad, considering I’ve found myself battling depression over the years. I look at her now as someone I can relate to just a little bit. I really feel that way reading her journals. I am at the very beginning of this book and I am loving the Plath I am seeing in these pages. She is a young woman just at the beginning of adulthood, finding her way. She has really amazing insights and observations about life. The best thing about this book, though, is the writing. She truly was an amazing talent, even at a young age. Her journal is especially wonderful because she is so open and uninhibited. I feel like there is something slightly contrived about her poetry, like it’s a little bit stiff (if that makes sense). So far in her journals, that feeling is not there. It feels pure, unfiltered.
I’ve also been thinking about the fact that these journals are available for me to read, and whether or not this is OK. I’ve been thinking a lot about how Ted Hughes had control of her estate after she died and controlled how her poetry and journals were published posthumously. I think about how much money he made off of her poetry. Is this OK? Is this something that Plath would’ve wanted? Would have Plath wanted the world to read all of her journals in their entirety? It all seems a little bit exploitative. I mean, she is no longer with us, but still.
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.