The Sylvia Plath Forum

October-December 2001

I am pleased to announce that The Other Ariel by Forum contributor Lynda K Bundtzen has been published by the University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, Mass. As part of at catalogue of new releases, UMass has this to say about The Other Ariel:

With great care and critical insight, Lynda K Bundtzen examines Plath's original typescript for Ariel and compares it to the version that was published by her estranged husband, Ted Hughes. In his role as Plath's literary executor and Ariel's editor, Hughes deleted twelve poems that he considered too "personally aggressive" in their attacks on him, while adding several others composed in the final weeks of Plath's life and colored by her suicidal depression.

The history of the publishing of Sylvia Plath's books is amongst the most controversial in the 20th century (For more, please see Tracy Brain's perfect first chapter in The Other Sylvia Plath, published by Longman, 2001) . Whether it is from the reordering of Ariel to the burning of Plath's personal diaries to the controversy surrounding The Bell Jar's publication in America back in 1971, Sylvia Plath was guaranteed a place in literary history. Of course it doesn't hurt that she was a poetical genius and the ghost of an infamous suicide!

Peter K Steinberg
Boston, USA
Saturday, December 22, 2001

I thought this link to an article from the Telegraph might amuse. The headline reads, in rather sensationalist fashion, "How poets' words can foreshadow their suicides" [Robert Uhlig, 27/07/2001]. The opening paragraph states that: "The writings of poets such as Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton contained obvious warning signs that they would one day end their own lives, scientists say." However, the picture accompanying the article is not of Plath but Carol Orchard Hughes. What a faux pas!

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Saturday, December 22, 2001

Sylvia's scar, part 2: In most of the biographies, the scar is described as being on Sylvia's right cheek. My impression has always been that, in the photos in which it can be seen, it appears to be on her left cheek. This may be a result of the photos being reversed in the printing process or something. In "Rough Magic" and in Sylvia Wagner-Martin's bio, there are two pictures of Sylvia at the beach with Gordon Lameyer. In these pictures the scar clearly seems to be on her left cheekbone. Also, in the well-known 1962 picture of Sylvia sitting with her children among the daffodils in Devon, the scar also appears visible on her left cheek. I have never seen a photo which appears to show a visible scar on her right cheek. Has anyone else?

Jim Long
Honolulu, USA
Saturday, December 22, 2001

I'm wondering what other poets besides Plath that people here like. One of my favorites is Pablo Neruda, and I'm struck by how often his work sounds like hers (or vice versa). Here are just a few lines from a Neruda poem called "Waltz":

"I touch hatred like a covered breast;
I without ceasing come from garment to garment,
sleeping at a distance.

My mouth is full of night and water.
The abiding moon determines
what I do not have.

Do not call me: that is my occupation.
Do not ask my name or my condition.
Leave me in the middle of my own moon
in my wounded ground."

Sounds rather Plath-like, to me. I wonder if she read him?

Michael Gates
Jersey City, USA
Saturday, December 22, 2001

Robin, A number of the biographies describe how Sylvia got the scar on her left cheekbone. While she lay under the sun-porch of the house, beginning to wake from her long, drugged sleep, still unconscious, she began to struggle to get up. In the process she repeatedly banged the side of her face against the low ceiling of the crawl-space in which was lying. By the time she was found, she had an ugly open sore high on her cheek under her left eye. In some of the pictures of her this scar can be seen as a dark patch, sort of like a light-colored birthmark on her cheek. A small price to pay, considering how close she came to dying.

Jim Long
Honolulu, USA
Saturday, December 22, 2001

Sylvia plath is more often recognized by her unusual death than by her poetry. Her poetry is sad and powerful, and tells an autobiographical picture of her life. It is really worthwhile to read "collected poems" because they are in chronological order. Although this was edited by Hughes, all of her works are in the volume. The poetry offers a unique look into the reasons behind her death. Sylvia Plath is a fantastic poet, and she is by far the most truthful and expressive modern poet

Grand Rapids, USA
Wednesday, December 19, 2001

I read that only true readers of Sylvia Plath biographies, literature, poems and history would know about the scar on Sylvias cheek from her atempted sucide in her 20's. Well I guess I'm not that great at paying attention to detail or something. How did she get the scar? I thought she locked herself in the cellar and washed several sleeping pills downwith some milk, and wasn't found for three days. I don't see how she could have been cut. Anyone heard of her scar? Anyone know how she got it? (and another thing I don't see any scar in her post-suicide-attemt pictures) Is this a true piece of info that I read?

Robin Hocker
Santa Rosa, USA
Wednesday, December 19, 2001

First: thanks for a darling site! This IS really a Forum for the people and by the people - very democratic indeed :)

Also Wish to mention that simply must (or should) be added to the links area...I think it's a splendid site much to do with graphics and sound effects!

You might hear from me again since I've just started siftning through material for my essay on "Johnny Panic and the bible of dreams".

Until then... Merry X-mas. Cheers!

Stockholm, Sweden
Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Is it public or personal pre-occupations of 20th century poetry that most catches your interest?. I believe it to be both but would be very interested to hear your views. Thank you.

Sarah Birch
Derby, UK
Thursday, December 13, 2001

Hello, I am doing my dissertation on feminism and domestication in Sylvia Plath's work - poetry and The Bell Jar, and I am interested in peoples views of Sylvia Plath as a feminist poet.

Derby, UK
Thursday, December 13, 2001

I've recently started reading Plath's work's and I think she's unique and amazing. However a lot of the feminist critiques on her works I believe are over exaggerated. Just because she has feminist qualities does not mean her works should be labeled before hand in that manner.Please read Plath with a open mind as a unique imaginative person, and not just as a single sex.

Paula Combs
Warrenton, Virginia, USA
Thursday, December 13, 2001

Doing a research paper on Sylvia Plath for my abnormal pshychology class. I was wondering if anyone could help me out with specifics of he mental illness or depression that is mentioned in her biographies. It has also been mentioned in biographies that I read about her that she was often ill. What kind of ill?, it seems to come off to me that it is meant as physical illness in addition to her depressions. What kind of phyisical illness?

What caused her attemped suicide during her junior year of college and what cause her to drive off the road in the summer of 1962? Does anyone know more about her treatment and therapy and diagnois and prognosises when she was in treatment in her junior year and again in 1959 when she was working in a psychiatric division of a general Hospital? It would be extremely helpfull if anyone could describe her personality in day to day life and what her behaviors where like. Particularly any inappropriate behaviors or behaviors that may be a result of her depression or mental illness. Please right to me right away with any info. even if it sounds small or insignificant. Thank you

Robin Hocker
Santa Rosa, USA
Thursday, December 13, 2001

I would like to see some more analysis of SP's prose. She is so revealing in her short stories and essays. I'm really surprised that many of the stories in Johnny Panic have been overlooked. She may have been an excellent poet, but she also is amazing when it comes to her stories. Im am currently writing an anlysis of "The Shadow" which can be found in Johnny Panic. When I am done, I will submit it for other people to enjoy.

Lisette B.
Brooklyn NY, USA
Monday, December 10, 2001

I've recently started reading Plath's work's and I think she's unique and amazing. However a lot of the feminist critiques on her works I believe are over exaggerated. Just because she has feminist qualities does not mean her works should be labeled before hand in that manner.Please read Plath with a open mind as a unique imaginative person, and not just as a single sex.

Paula Combs
Warrenton, Virginia, USA
Monday, December 10, 2001

I love Plath. I read The Bell Jar once in seventh grade, but had, unfortunately, not yet aquired the intellect level needed to thoroughly understand. I am now 16 years old and have just finished the book. I adored it... no, I can't say that, I could worship Plath for her brilliance and her out-right, brutal honesty. I only imagine the ability to express myself as she did, and through her readers, still does. I just started "The Collected Poems" and I must give Ted Hughes applause for publishing it. (This, by the way, is right in the line of my reading.) I haven't read anything not pertaining to psychology in at least 4 years. Usually I read non-fiction, but this "semi-fiction" has opened me up to a whole new line of authors. If you have any suggestions on other writers (prose, poetry, novels) I would greatly appreciate the feedback. Thank you, and may you not succumb to the sickening sweetness of your own bell jar.

Alliance, USA
Saturday, December 8, 2001

It was wonderful to read Lucas Myers memoir of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. (see reviews section) Since Myers knew Plath and Hughes intimately it is worth reading. I found the review of his book by Bedford dishonest. Bedford expects American women to mob Myers for favouring Hughes' poetry to Plath's. When Bedford dreaded what he (Myers) was going to say about Sylvia Plath as he began to read Myers' book, it was obvious his eyes and mind were jaundiced. I read and reread Myers' book and nowhere did I see any mention of Plath not being a genuine poet. It is obvious Bedford has either a score to settle or something else that we don't know is eating him. Since Bedford mentions he is a novelist and a poet he should know better than to misrepresent others. He also distorts Myers' report of Hughes' dream of the fox. He needs to read the Winter Pollen once again.

Norbu Tsering
Berkeley, USA
Monday, December 3, 2001

Read her. She's wonderful. Don't worry about trying to understand her poems. They stand on their own merits and I think we will be reading for poems for a long time. I know what suicide is like in fact I feel suicidal right now but don't worry for me. I'm always trying to kill myself in some way, my illness, but I'm convinced Sylvia thought she would be found that day she died. She left a pitcher of milk and bread for her children and put her head in the oven. The au pair girl she hired was supposed to come by in the morning. Unfortunately, the man downstairs who could have let her in was knocked cold by the gas. So she wasn't let in and no one found her. Except found her dead of couse. I've read her poems so often that that words and phrases of her poetry often come to me when I'm writing or reading something. An uncanny listener of the language she was. We her readers miss her most of all.

Mary Corbett
Runnemede, NJ, USA
Sunday, December 2, 2001

This year, for Year 12 literature we studied ten of Plath's poems: Black Rook in Rainy Weather; Mushrooms; Morning Song; Tulips; The Arrival of the Bee Box; Wintering; The Applicant; Daddy; Fever 103; and Lady Lazarus. I throughly enjoy her work, and I amazingly enjoyed the writing I did on her work during the year. I especially enjoyed writing on Daddy and Lady Lazarus. However The Applicant and Mushrooms were my favourtie to read.

I do not have the words within me to express how talented I believe Plath was. She was an amazing woman. It was unfortunate that at her time, mental illnesses were still a great mystery to doctors. Although if she did have the medication we have today to help control (it isn't the right word, but it's the first that comes to mind) bipolar disorder, would Plath still have written all that she had? Would her writing still have been as amazing? Ugh, I'm constantly asking questions that people can't answer...although if you can, e-mail me.

Tegan Bomers
Traralgon, Australia
Sunday, December 2, 2001

I love the poem the Bee Box...I'm only 12 but doing a report on this very great poet....cya yall....

Annandale, Virginia, USA
Friday, November 30, 2001

I'd like to know if anyone has a copy of the re-edition of the HarperCollins Bell Jar, 1996, which has a foreword by Frances McCullogh. Apparently there's a discussion of the publication history on p.xviii, and I'm desperate to find out what it says! And if anyone out there has any other information about the publication history of the Bell Jar I'd be really interested to find out. I know that it wasn't published in the US until 1971 for all sorts of reasons, but is there anything else that anyone has found out about its chequered publishing history? And would anyone know how many languages it's been translated into?

Thank you very much.

Esther Woodman
Bath, England
Tuesday, November 27, 2001

I only discovered Sylvia Plath about a year ago, when I received a copy of her journals in paperback. I had heard of her before from studying Ted Hughs at school, but this was the first time I had really read anything by her. I find her writing speaks to me in a way that nothing I have ever read before has. The sadness and meloncholy with which she suffered - not to mention the more extreme emotions of self-loathing and disgust at the world around her - is shown in her writing in such a way as to bring me to tears every time I read an entry of her diary. Of her poetry, 'You're' is my favourite - I am in love with the first few lines, 'clown-like, happiest on your hands, feet to the stars, and moon-skulled, gilled like a fish.' I also like 'Mirror', 'Tulips' and 'Insomniac'. At first I felt that her poetry and descriptions were too cryptic, that little real sense could be made of them, but on closer analysis I found a whole world of thoughts, feelings and ideas that I love deciphering - I find I discover something new every time I read her work. If anyone has any opinions about the poems I've mentioned and would like to discuss them, I would appreciate some feedback.

Annie Rose
Devizes, England
Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Hi, I am a grade 12 student, (actually not any more! graduated last week) who came across the name of Sylvia Plath last year while working on a project called "The Greatest Autobiographical poets of all time".. Since then I have become a fan of Sylvia Plath and have been reading+studying some of her poems and other writings by myself. I love her poetry- my favourites are, so far(since i haven't read them all), "I am vertical" and "The moon and the yew tree". This site gave me great help when I studied "The moon and the yew tree"- soon I will post my own opinion on the poem. At the moment I am trying to interpret "Nick and the candlestick" and have been searching the web for discussions, notes and other reads on this poem but not successfully. I'd highly appreciate it if anybody can send me any decent read on the poem "Nick and the Candlestick"... I'm having trouble with the 3rd stanza, where she writes, "black bats airs"- I don't understand what she exactly means here.

Darby Newell
Melbourne, Australia
Tuesday, November 27, 2001

I think this website is really nice and let the people know who Sylvia Plath was, a simple person, even if she seemed so complicated.I got a degree in English Literature about two months ago, but I worked on Sylvia Plath's poems for my theses. I will continue reading her poetry becouse I feel she is still alive, thank you for your rich details and helps!

Battipaglia, Italy
Monday, November 26, 2001

I just bought Gold by Ryan Adams and there is a song called Sylvia Plath on it, very beautiful song by the way. Now i barely know Sylvia Plath's poems from the basic teachings in schhol but i was wondering if the song takes instances from her poems? Just curious

Dublin, Ireland
Monday, November 26, 2001

3 AM, an online magazine, has an interesting interview with Irish poet Matthew Sweeney in the current issue. He cites Sylvia Plath as his greatest influence when starting out and talks about meeting Ted Hughes and discussing Plath with him. You'll find the interview here.

(Much to my amazement, I have a short story in the same issue.)

Michael Gates
Jersey City, USA
Sunday, November 18, 2001

Well I've been doing some research for my year12 HSC course. At the moment I'm studying Sylvia Plath. At first I thought that she was a bit strange, you could even say weird, but after going into some of her poems in depth I have begun to appreciate the quality of her work. Thank you to Jim Long in Honolulu for the information on where to find critics' views on Plath. I have to do a 10 min oral presentation on Sylvia Plath and that infomation has helped me dramatically.


Bateau Bay Sydney, Australia
Monday, November 19, 2001

I am studying English at the Flensburg University. In my poetry class we received a poem by S.Plath called "Metaphors".

I would like to know what you think about this poem, if it could be related to her life, to any events or if it is just an allusion to the literary means of using metaphors in poetry and prose.I am looking forward to hear from any of you !

Christian Lempertz
Flensburg, Germany
Monday, November 19, 2001

I am fascinated so far by the life of S. Plath. I am overwhelmed by her writing and her thoughts. Yet, I struggle to understand fully her suicide and her depression.I feel like I have missed something key, perhaps her earlier years or her relationship with her father (or lack there of). I am looking for a missing piece; perhaps many missing pieces. I am delivering a project about the sagas of Sylvia's life, how her writings reflected her current emotional state, and her death. Though I have buried myself in her journals and poetry, I still feel quite uneducated. Any thoughts, suggestions or bits of information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Loveland, CO, USA
Thursday, November 15

Karen Shaw, will help you as much as poss. I'm an English lit and lang. student in England, studying Plath at the moment. It's a tough poem. 'Took its place amoung the elements' She is just saying that now the baby has arrived it has taken its place in the world. Stanza 2 is basically her feeling that her new baby is like a museum exhibit. 'We stand around blankly as walls' What Plath is saying here is that she is awe struck by her child, it's all so new to her, what does the baby want and need, all first mums questions.'Effacement at the winds hands' My feeling on this sentence is that she feels that when she looks at the baby she doesn't see herself in the baby.'Moth breath' She is just saying that the baby's breaths are soft.'Cow heavy' her breasts are full of milk.'Victorian nightgown' this is a maternal image.'Your handful of notes' the baby is showing its first sign of independence. Hope this is of some help.

Reading, UK
Wednesday, November 14, 2001

I have been trying to find the title/words to a specific Plath poem. It begins something like this..."What did my arms do before they held you? What did my heart do with its love?...Can anyone tell me the name of this poem? Your help is so very appreciated.

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

I will soon be doing a research paper comparing Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. If anyone has any imput or suggestions, i.e. books or websites, please let me know. Thanks.

Ohio, USA
Wednesday, November 14, 2001

I have a report due on Sylvia Plath and the information I can't seem to find is her religious beliefs and how they affected her writing? What world events occurred during her life time, why did she write her most famous works? Did she influence other authors' work and whom+how??? What were her most deeply held beliefs? This report is a major part of my grade and this info is not being found HELP!!

Westland, USA
Wednesday, November 14, 2001

(A great deal of this information can be found in the FAQ and by a search of the site's archives. EC)

Ted Hughes: A Life of the Poet by Elaine Feinstein has been published in the US. About half way through it the focus of the book suddenly turns to Ted Hughes. The first several chapters are primarily spent on Sylvia Plath (go figure) which is a little disappointing.

Esther, several drafts of The Bell Jar are held in the Mortimer Rare Book Room's Sylvia Plath Collection at Smith College in Northampton Massachusetts. Yes, almost anyone can work with the manuscripts.

Peter K Steinberg
Boston MA, USA
Thursday, November 8, 2001

I recently read Morning Song and am confused by the images. I am new to Sylvia Plath and find it difficult to believe this is a more hopeful work. Line 15 "Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. Help me understand.

Karen Shaw
Metamora MI, USA
Thursday, November 8, 2001

Hi - I wanted to know if anyone could help me. I'm desperate to find out if the manuscript to the Bell Jar still survives and, if so, where it is kept. If it exists, is there any way that the public can get to see it? Thanks

Esther Woodman
Bath, England
Wednesday, November 7, 2001

To Jim Long

Maybe the writing of the novel "The Bell Jar" had indeed something to do with Sylvia Plath's relation to Ted Hughes. Maybe Sylvia P. was willing to find and affirm her own position (in life and literature) and to gain some distance from Ted H. So she had to know and write who she really was, and a novel like "The Bell Jar" allows - or compels the writer to be more direct than by writing poetry.

OK, you could say, S. Plath's last poems are relatively direct and 'extreme', so we can see a link between writing these poems and writing "The Bell Jar", because in both cases we could speak of writing without a mask. But there remains a difference between writing poetry and writing prose (this sort of prose).

I was confronted with this phenomenon as I began to work on the Austrian poet Ingeborg Bachmann. As she began to write prose, some critics did not recognise 'their' Bachmann any more, because she did was not a 'poet' any more, I mean, she had crossed the line which separates the world of 'pure beauty' from the more realistic world of prose. Of course, I don't mean that this line really exists, but sometimes critics or readers may think so, and the poet himself may feel he is imprisoned in this beautiful, pure world, where he can write anything without shocking anybody...

But I can't really write about S. Plath's poems, because my English is too bad and so I can't have this intimate relation to the texts that you can only have to texts written in your mother tongue (although I can speak German much better as English, since it's my job, I find it quite difficult to speak about German poetry, for the same reason).

My last mail was a sort of provocation. To put it more seriously : I' m very much interested in the problem of the relation between poetry and 'lyrical' prose, and also - and that has a lot to do with S. Plath's novel - with the raltion between autobiographical and lyrical writing,and I am very much interested with the phenomenon of the 'aura'of some writers. I habe nothing at all against being 'passionate', but I think you have to 'fight' against passion with your rational intelligence, otherwise passion produces 'kitsch'.

Michel Kappes
Brest, France
Tuesday, November 6, 2001

Hi, I am in need of any information on the poem "Stones". I have talked to people who think the poem is about child birth, I'm inclined to think the poem is about a person who is fragmented and in need of healing. I was hoping somebody could give me another view. Thanks.

Portola, USA
Monday, November 5, 2001

I know this may sound a bit 'conspiracy-theorist' and true Plath enthusiasts may think I'm crazy, but I've often suspected that the Ted Hughes' poem 'A Bedtime Story' may have been written by Plath. Simply because it is so unlike Hughes' other poetry and the style and content so much more like Sylvia Plath's. Does anyone have any comments on this?

M Roach
London, UK
Monday, November 5, 2001

I am doing a research paper for "Mushrooms" and "Metaphor" for my AP English class. I am also supposed to be teaching these two poems to my class. I have looked everywhere, for critical analysis!! Please help or guide me in the right direction if you can.

Katy,Texas, USA
Monday, November 5, 2001

~Monday, November 5, 2001 I am doing some research on S.P. and I'm looking for a source of S.P.'s first poem that was printed in the Boston Herald when she was eight. Do you know where I might find that online, or in a source that would be easy to find? Your help is appreciated .. thanks!

Kim Wilmore
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Wednesday, October 31, 2001

I have enjoyed reading WebSite material on SP and the discussion threads and I have still a long way to go if I am to cover this in any depth! However, the following is a contribution to the Forum, perhaps fitting at this time.

I recently started to take a new interest in poetry. In part motivated by a need to analyze poetry written by my brother. I wanted to share and give constructive feedback.

I bought an anthology of poems at a Garage Sale. In Australia this is a private sale of unwanted household possessions, usually conducted in the garage of the vendor, a place where such items usually congregate to gather dust. This book contained the one SP poem: Black Rook in Rainy Weather (written at the end of 1957). I must confess I am not well read in a literary sense and at the time ignorant of SP and the poet laureate TH connection.

Some poems brush the senses more than others. The immediacy of impact could have been due to my first 21 years in England giving a first hand appreciation of the depressive damp dreariness. I lived 40 miles from London before studying Mathematics at university in Yorkshire. SP went from the sunshine, I the other way to Australia. A second more important reason was the intensity of feeling behind the words, particularly the random sparks in the boredom gloom.

Accepting the fact that poems in the main are not normally perspicacious. Even those that have a strong face value can usually be explored at deeper levels. I started a quest about the life and times of SP (and TH) to reconsider and expand initial interpretations and to explore the unexplored. It was in this vein that I started to peel the skins especially while on leave and with the aid of a new computer and the Net.

But even before that had started a feature article about Frieda appeared in a Sunday national paper. Some basic background emerged on SP. It must be hard for offspring to shine outside such strong parental poetic glare.

What a surprise when I realized the wealth of electronic material available! Also, I have just read Ariels Gift (Erica Wagner). I found this a useful insight into their poetry and relationship.

Perhaps it should have been no surprise to me that such ability to articulate intensity of feeling should reveal a mental instability. Poets often touch the mental fringes at some time or other in their life. This was of interest to me as I suffer from a bipolar disorder.

I am not inferring the nature of her mental sickness nor the extent she lived within the tears of her own fatal design.

It is clear that SP was caught up within herself, TH indicating nothing was external everything being converted by a lens turned inwards. It must have been difficult for the two to survive together to the degree they did. They did at one stage work and nourish together side by side. Erica Wagner in her book includes a photograph of writings on the backs of each others drafts.

I note that SP said at the age of 16 that she wrote from a basic internal need. The Bell Jar can be seen as a prayer for help. TH after the 25 years of silence, mentioned that Birthday Letters had to be released against his original intent. He released them in 1998 a year before his death. These soul print reasons magnify the importance of their interrelated poetic communication coupled with the intriguing life story as it panned out.

So any thought of a TH center in Yorkshire must give appropriate recognition to SP. Perhaps a room specifically devoted to SP-TH relationship. I am sure those far more qualified can define appropriate and there will be much discussion.

I find her work dark. I have not investigated this but I am sure that her work has been subjected to psychiatric analysis. The letters to Aurelia are a little more optimistic at times with a philosophic flavor. Reflecting the child wanting to convey the good image to a parent.

It seems her suicide is viewed in relation to the holes left, first by Otto. Richard Sassoon in Paris was only indicative but it was part of the trend. Then the gaping mouth hole created by TH and his adultery. Coupled with caring for the two children and the expected traditional female role of that time. However, many must ask that given her background, and the loss of Otto why were F and N left in this fashion. Those that have experienced mental problems may be more accepting. My heart bleeds when I contemplate the living pain left and I can understand a bitter retort seen in the poetry of F towards the feasting of the SP audience.

So in relation to the first poem I read, this time SP did not trek stubborn through the season of fatigue as she did years before. The situation was different. The winter was too cold.

Current psychiatric help (Lithium) may perhaps have stopped the tragic ending.

The lamp burning too high, the shattering of the chimney (words from Olive Higgins Prouty, her protg). On the other hand we may never have been blessed with such beautiful confessional work or it may have had a dull cover.

I think in the analogy given by Olive Prouty above it is easy to concentrate on the intensity of the flame rather than the strength of the chimney glass. Perhaps she did well to survive the distance already covered. Her scar holds testimony.

It was a very severe winter. I remember the snow of 1963 as I went to classes in lower sixth. The difficult journey in the snow, a cycle of 2 miles to Winchfield (Hampshire) station to catch the train and then the mile walk at Farnborough.

There but for the grace of God.

With thanks today, and in celebration of her life and work

In Gratitude

Time to stir the blue water
A fixed star radiates
The coffin lies wide open
Time to forget the idle prattle
A soft peace wind comes
From afar there is a sound
The indefatigable hoof-taps flame
All else is lost
An angel descends

Richard Scutter
Canberra, Australia
Saturday, October 27, 2001

This is for the benefit of all those students looking for criticism of Sylvia's poems and prose.

There is a series that should be in the Reference section of any large public or academic library entitled CONTEMPORARY LITERARY CRITICISM. Each volume contains a cumulative index that covers all the preceding volumes. Look up Plath, Sylvia; there will be numerous entries that lead you to the volumes that contain criticism of her work. The articles will contain some biogrephical information, as well as numerous excerpts from reviews and critical essays. They will give you also the citation to the original article, so you can look up the whole article where it was originally published, but, generally speaking, these excerpts will usually be enough for your purposes. This is the best source that I know of for criticism on the individual poems, since it collects all of it together in one place.

Hope this helps some of you.

Jim Long
Honolulu HI, USA
Friday, October 26, 2001

Web Design by Pennine Pens