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    Contributions: June-July 1999

    On 17 September there is a movie being released called "Girl, Interrupted." It is based on the book, of the same title, by Susanna Kaysen who spent some time at McLean Hospital in Boston---where Plath & Lowell stayed, among many others. It's a good read and I am curious to see how the film was done. It's got an all start line up of Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Whoppi Goldberh, Clea Duvall and Vanessa Redgrave. The Yahoo! link is:

    Peter Steinberg
    Alexandria, Virginia, USA
    Friday, July 30, 1999

    I am an absolute novice to Plath but admit to beign an ardent fan after reading her biography. I have not touched on any of her penned work, yet still find myself (as I guess we all are) drawn to her. Especially her relationship with Ted. I would be grateful if anyone would see fit to drop me an educated line on her, perhaps suggesting which of her poems I should dabble in first,and also any trivial commentry on her relationship with Teddy would be a treat!

    Chantelle Wyten
    Narrogin, Australia
    Thursday, July 29, 1999

    Something just for those of us in the U.K. I'm afraid. If anyone's interested Frieda Hughes is a guest on "Fine Lines" on BBC Radio 4 at 11.30 p.m. on Saturday 31st July.

    Poetry and conversation with Christopher Cook, whose guests this week are the newly appointed Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, and Frieda Hughes, whose first book of poems published last year carries a dedication to a previous laureate - her father Ted Hughes.

    John Hopkins
    Bridgend, S.Wales, U.K.
    Wednesday, July 28, 1999

    I am a year 12 student and at moment am readin Sylvia Plaths novel "the bell jar" and am interested in all her writing techniques and if you could help me out i would b most appreciative!

    I have notices the repetition throughout her writing of the reference of "WHITE" and am not sure what it means. if you have any imfomation about the themesof her novel or symbolism and techniques she uses please could you e mail me as soon as you can

    Perth, Australia
    Wednesday, July 28, 1999

    In response to Peter Strindberg's post (July 11), 'Change-About in Mrs. Cherry's Kitchen' is a prose-fiction piece in the Lilly Library (which houses Plath's materials). My guess is "Mrs Cherry's Kitchen" will be a collection of short stories, though it may be more Juvenilia than the Johnny Panic stories. There is no date when 'Change-About in Mrs. Cherry's Kitchen' was written or published.

    Ivy Imbuido
    Hobart, Tasmani, Australia
    Tuesday, July 27, 1999

    As a manic-depressive (and part time poet), I love Sylvia's poetry, the darkness and dry humour.I find it strange that I feel so much for a woman that I never knew, who died 13 years before I was born.I know the intense pain that she felt during her 31 years on this plane. Sylvia's memory will live eternally in the hearts and minds of everyone who loved her and her works. A lovelier woman I've never seen.

    Cape Town, South Africa
    Friday, July 23, 1999

    Dear Forum Members, I'm back once more searching for help on some obscure passages and Plath references in "Birthday Letters", which I'm translating into Italian. But as I don't want to take up valuable Forum space devoted after all to Sylvia Plath rather than Ted Hughes, may I ask is there's anyone willing to spare some of their time to whom I could write privately? I haven't got too many queries, mainly a few possible Plath quotations that I haven't been able to trace and a few allusions to biographical facts which again I cannot find mentioned anywhere (I've got all the major Plath biographies). Thanks a lot in advance.

    Anna Ravano
    Milan, Italy
    Friday, July 23, 1999

    I am currently in the process of choosing a book for my Higher English RPR. I have narrowed it down to The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

    However, I'm not sure what line of thought to take with the Bell Jar so if anyone knows of any good reviews or anything at all, could you polease give me the net address? Or if you personally have any thoughts I would really appreciate the help.

    Thanks very much!!

    Sarah Mc Daid
    Duntocher, Scotland
    Tuesday, July 20, 1999

    This is just a quirky observation, but I notice that Sylvia's daughter Frieda has married someone, Laszlo Lukacs, whose last name is not too far removed from Sylvia's assumed name, Victoria Lucas, under which she first published The Bell Jar. Odd!

    Pamela St. Clair
    New Haven, CT, USA
    Wednesday, July 14, 1999

    In response to John Hopkins post of 13 June 1999 regarding "Mrs. Cherry's Kitchen"--I contacted Smith College about this and they don't know much of anything about it. The same thing apparently happened with the 1996 surprise publication of 'The it-Doesn't-Matter Suit.' So, anyone's guess is as good as anyone elses! That it could have been found at Emory is a great thought!

    Peter Steinberg
    Alexandria, Virginia, USA

    There are two wonderful new poems in the Poems Inspired by Plath page on the Forum! Deja's poem has the eloquence of a Laureate's celebratory poem, with a darkness riding through obvious to any Plath fan. I love the little pun on platitude...there should be a word "Plathitude" shouldn't there? Lena's poem is so darn biting, so darn blood-hot and personal! It's triumph is in the confessional language, and the two dreams! I wouldn't want to be in either of them, the confusion, the gore! But the ending is quite emotional, seemingly quite tragic. The murder, the mourn and the low full moon, too embarassed to rise.

    Peter Steinberg
    Alexandria, Virginia, USA
    Sunday, July 11, 1999

    Would students requesting help be kind enough to read Carol Petrone's letter of 3rd March before posting - thanks, Elaine

    Al Strangeways' book on Sylvia Plath is not another psycho-babble approach to Plath's work. In fact, instead of head-shrinking our much abused Sylvia, Strangeways concentrates on her intellectual interests and on the literary influences in her work. The author places Plath in her historic period, bringing out her strong political views which most critics either ignore or refuse to take seriously. She points out how 'American' these views were, particularly as shaped by WWII. Ironically, since Bloom is no admirer of Plath's poetry, Strangeways believes that Plath's and Harold Bloom's views on literary influence are not all that different, both being highly influenced by Nietzsche and Freud.

    Bronfen's book is another story. She seems to view Plath through the lens of her previous research on hysteria. Curious about this, I decided to read Bronfen's earlier book called, 'The Knotted Subject: Hysteria and its discontents.' This book did help me understand the terminology in her Plath study. But I found the whole concept of 'hysteria' so vague and could be so broadly interpreted, that I now question how useful it is as an approach to analyzing Plath's varied output. There's a long chapter on Anne Sexton who it seems fits the definition of 'hysteric' much better than Sylvia Plath. Still, I can recommend Bronfen's book on Plath to anyone interested in that poet's work (the ability to easily shift between contradictory positions is supposed to be a sign of hysteria, so maybe I'm one too). I particularly think Bronfen's discussion of Birthday Letters, within the context of the 'Plath Myth', (as Bronfen interprets it) is very perceptive. And if nothing else, both of these books should be able to generate debate within the forum.

    Paul Snyder
    New York City, USA
    Friday, July 9, 1999

    I wish I knew who this mysterious Susan mentioned in Hughes' poem was, but I don't. What I do know is that the poem "Cut" was dedicated to Plath's nanny at the time, Susan O'Neill-Roe, a very sensible woman who suggested that Plath use her morning hours to write - and so was partially responsible for the "Ariel" poems. Once the Hughes papers at Emory are sorted through, his poem may make more sense!

    Lena Friesen
    Toronto, Canada
    Friday, July 9, 1999

    I find it facinating the way that plath identifies herself to death. It seems almost inevitable that she killed herself. The way she portrays life is frightening yet in an all about tragic way satisfying. I check this site regularly to see if people share my opinion please send me your imput - thanks.

    Palmdale, USA
    Friday, July 9, 1999

    There are two people linked in the Plath/Hughes who have killed themselves by gas: Plath herself and Hughes' lover, Assia Wevill.

    Susan might be Susan O'Neill-Roe. Plath's poem "Cut" (I think it is) is dedicated to her. I have wondered about this reference, too.

    Ivy Imbuido
    Hobart, Tasmani, Australia
    Friday, July 2, 1999

    Finally!! I am reading the book that Amy of Chanhassen recently announced was published, Sylvia Plath: A Literary Life, by Linda Wagner-Martin (172 pages, quality paperback). Not only is the book well written and easy to read, it takes most of Plath's short stories (published & unpublished), The Bell Jar, the Letters Home, the Journals, and the Poems and places them in context to her life...biographically!

    I believe this is one of the few 'biographies' out there that are solely concerned with the facts known about Plath's life, without pyschoanalytic speculation! As Amy mentioned, Wagner-Martin has much freedom to quote unpublished letters and stories. She takes full advantage of this chapter after chapter enlightens this reader into the unknown world of Plath. She discusses early in the book many of the short stories, turns to The Bell Jar, the hospital poems (Tulips & In Plaster, to be specific), and then in Part II moves towards the Ariel poem by crossing the water.

    I request that all Plath fans buy this book from They offer a decent price and ship within four days of the order. All total it's about 15 pounds and very well worth it.

    The unedited Journals are being worked on as you read this and should come out by November in the UK. There is no date set that I know of and also no known book planned for we unfortunate souls in the US (as of now). There will be new issues of The Bell Jar in book form & Audiobook this Autumn, published by HarperPerennial, just like Ariel was earlier this year.

    Finally, I would like to thank John Hopkins who recently scanned 7 photographs of Cambridge/Plath related sites and sent them to me. They are up on my webpage. The link is available from The Forum's Links Page. Ta Ta!

    Peter Steinberg
    Alexandria, Virginia, USA
    Wednesday, June 30, 1999

    While searching through the Internet resources on Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, I came across this Forum a few days ago. I spent all day yesterday reading the archive and I'm really impressed by the depth of most of its contributions!

    I shamelessly pass on to a request for help. I'm currently translating "Birthday Letters" into Italian for the Italian publisher Mondadori (not an easy task, I can assure you!), and I wonder if I could tap the collective knowledge of the participants to this Forum for any help in interpreting some lined of the poem "18 Rugby Street" (the title refers to the address of Hughes' flat in London where he and Sylvia met before her trip through Europe in Spring 1956 and where they spent their wedding night). In the second stanza two women are mentioned that I haven't been able to trace. The first one is probably very marginal, though the mention of her killing herself with gas is striking. I'll quote extensively to save you searching for your copy of BL:

    The more important mention of the second woman comes straight after:

    All that would seem to point to a fairly major minor character who played some sort of negative role in their story and who died in 1966. But none of the books on or by Plath that I've read so far (Wagner-Martin and Stevenson's biographies , SP's Journals, "Letters Home") mentions her. Nor does Lucas Myers, who is also mentioned in the poem and whose recollections of their Cambridge days appears as an Appendix in Stevenson. Has Paul Alexander (I've just ordered his book through anything to say on her?

    I'd be extremely grateful for any lights on the matter, either through the Forum or to my personal e-mail address.

    Anna Ravano
    Milan, Italy
    Friday, June 25, 1999

    Carol/Lena, if you can get a hold of it, there is also Lynda K Bundtzen's "Plath's Incarnations" which has some interesting things to say about Plath's flirtation with sex and violence.

    She quotes from material in the boxes at the Lilly Library collection, stuff that has been omitted from the Letters Home and also revealing correspondence from Eddie Cohen.

    Bundtzen's draws attention and interprets the fact that after Plath found out that Dick Norton was not a virgin (as she was at the time), she became determined to lose this virginity, as a way of payback to Norton and what she sees as his hypocrisy. In the correspondence with Cohen, she confides to him her fears and anger towards Norton's betrayal, and the need to lose her chastity, by force if possible.

    I read Plath's need as way of circumventing responsibility for losing her virinity. If it was taken by force, then she is not to blame. What do people think?

    Ivy Imbuido
    Hobart, Tasmani, Australia
    Monday, June 7, 1999

    Carol--In your thesis on domination/submission I thought it would be good to quote a bit from Plath's early journals--

    This is what Plath wanted in her relationship with Hughes, ideally, but I don't know if it ever worked out in her favor. Plath was happiest, I think, when she felt she had a "double" of some sort, and Hughes was for her the ultimate in that line. But (as Axelrod points out in The Wound and Cure of Words) Plath had to eventually give up on this idea and of course she separated herself from him very reluctantly, because the intellectual ideal of the double was stronger for her than for Hughes (I wonder if Hughes resented this intense closeness?)

    In "Daddy" Plath imagines a revenge against her father and seems to mention Hughes only in passing as an unfortunate incident or experience, even though the seven years of drinking blood would seem to me pretty important! Plath (or the speaker of the poem, however you want to read it) is looking for reasons, is trying to explain her actions, and yet it is like a still-life painting, a wish-fulfilling dream. I guess it is dominant, but also submissive? To hear her recite the poem is to hear a lot of different emotions, not just the one.

    Lena Friesen
    Toronto, Canada
    Friday, June 18, 1999

    Thanks to all who contributed to this helpful site on the extremely scary day before my last A-level exam on English Literature (and if any of you are doing your SAT's now or your A-levels here, best wishes and my sympathy!). Sylvia Plath has been suggested as a possibility for the "Unseen" section of my poetry exam, but even if she isn't its been interesting to learn about her and see comparisons with Toni Morrison. Goddess, I am becoming SUCH a geek.

    Anyway, on the subject of "Lady Lazarus", does anyone else see the similarity between the rising "Out of the ashes" between Plath and the myth of the Phoenix, perhaps Plath symbolising her rebirth after her metaphorical 'trial by fire'. As Nietziche said :"That which does not kill me makes me stronger". I feel this interpretation adds to the feminist message already created by the feminine rhyme scheme and Plath's triumph in eating men "like air" Any thoughts?

    London, England
    Friday, June 18, 1999

    John-- The Caroline King Barnard Hall book was reissued last year under the title 'Sylvia Plath, Revised.' She pretty much updated some of the out-of-date facts that were in her originial 1979 publication. (It is always odd to read books written before the Collected Poems were issued, don't you agree?) This book is excellent because it discusses each individual work much like something York Notes would do, but in a more educational way, I think. I didn't get that "I'm cheating on this essay by reading this" feeling from reading Barnard-Hall's book. The book's biography is one of the shortest and most concise that have been written and is excellent.

    The Frederike Haberkamp is a small, thin yellow paperback and is mostly on the Bee poems Plath wrote. I read this on a flight from the UK here and it's very educational and critical of those wonderful bee poems. I suggest this book as well.

    The Bronfen book was mentioned in April, I think, and I recently, blindly, purchased this book and regret doing so. It's lexicon is thick and often garbled and the focus of the book I could not find.

    The book by Al Strangeways has the subtitle, The Shaping of Shadows and whilst I've seen this book at a local university library I have not had the courage to pick it up. I think it's psycho-analytical much like Rose's book The Haunting of Sylvia Plath was, but please don't quote me on that!

    The book by Robyn Marsack I purchased last Autumn and used it primarily for it's excellent explication's of certain poems like Sheep in Fog (it's only a small piece, but good---Ted Hughes' on words on the poem, printed in Winter Pollen, are most certainly the definitive). It's book takes the poems, or key poems, and places them into the woman's atmosphere during the 50's and early 60's when they were being written. It's one of the few books to travel that lane. I have never heard of Nancy Loewan.

    Peter Steinberg
    Alexandria, Virginia, USA
    Wednesday, June 16, 1999

    While browsing through books by or about Plath on the site I was intrigued to see "Mrs.Cherry's Kitchen" by Sylvia Plath due for publication in the year 2000. Does anyone know anything about this book? Is it something that's been found in Hughes' archive at Emory?

    Other books I noted were:

    Bronfen. Elizabeth, Sylvia Plath 1998
    Barnard. Caroline King Sylvia Plath 1979
    Haberkamp. Frederike Sylvia Plath 1998
    Loewen. Nancy Sylvia Plath 1994
    Strangeways. Al Sylvia Plath 1998
    Marsack. Robyn Sylvia Plath 1992

    The titles don't give much away. Most of the books I've read about Plath have been obtained initially from local libraries and usually added to my own collection or placed on my wants list. I'm reluctant to buy blindly, and at least would like to place my requirements in some order of priority, so if anyone could comment on any of these books it would be very much appreciated.

    All questions this posting. Is the novel fragment "Stone Boy with Dolphin" synonymous with the unfinished and presumed missing "Falcon Yard"? Or was this an early draft of the latter? It's interesting to compare this with the entry in the Journals, and curious why all the names have been changed in this extract except that of Hamish.

    John Hopkins
    Bridgend, S.Wales, U.K.
    Sunday, June 13, 1999

    Thanks to your webpage and to a person called Dan Lucy, you have really helped me out with my A-level drama performance exam!!!!!!!!

    Manchester, England
    Friday, June 11, 1999

    Linda Wagner-Martin, who wrote a biography of Plath several years ago, just published a new biography called "Sylvia Plath: A Literary Life." It's published by Macmillan Press UK and is available directly from the publisher, or, presumably, from I haven't finished reading it, but already I think it's better than the one from several years ago. It seems she was able to get permission to use quotes that she couldn't get before, and she's quoting extensively from archived material that I haven't seen covered before. The early chapters are looking at her early fiction in an even-handed way. So far, it's a calm, apparently-as-objective-as-is-possible-to-be biography. I hope it continues...

    Amy Rea
    Chanhassen, USA
    Friday, June 11, 1999

    I've been researching Sylvia intensly for a couple of weeks now, as I am performing Ariel for my Trinity drama exam in November. I have found this site extremely helpful as I need to know and understand other peoples oppinions on her and her works, so I thank everyone that has contributed to this site. PLEASE could I have some ideas, feelings, information, anything about Ariel, everything helps. Thanks again.

    Durban, South Africa
    Thursday, June 10, 1999

    Summa cum laude is Latin for "with highest honors" and it is a designator which is used on college and university diplomas in the United States to indicate the grades the graduate received. Also possible is "cum laude" (with honors), and "magna cum laude" (with high honors).

    Minneapolis, USA
    Wednesday, June 9, 1999

    Lee, to graduate 'summa cum laude' means to graduate with the highest honors, based on above average grades. The next highest honor is 'magna cum laude' and the 3rd highest is 'cum laude.'

    Detroit, USA
    Wednesday, June 9, 1999

    Sylvia Plath has been recognised by People Magazine as one of this Century's most intriguing persons. The special magazine is a whopping US$9.95 and features a small, pathetic biography that for the most part takes Plath out of her poetic genius and focuses on her father's death. From reading it I hardly understand how they came to select her!

    Peter Steinberg
    Alexandria, Virginia, USA
    Tuesday, June 8, 1999

    What does 'summa cum laude' mean? I have read many times that Sylvia Plath graduated summa cum lauda from Smith college, but can not find out what this means.

    Liverpool, England
    Tuesday, June 8, 1999

    Alison Owen is working on Ted And Sylvia, a film about the marriage of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath starring Gwyneth Paltrow. This is the URL to get to the article.

    Hope that takes you there. It's in the Guardian Unlimited archives anyway. Hmm, it all makes you wonder.

    Ivy Imbuido
    Hobart, Tasmani, Australia
    Monday, June 7, 1999

    Apart from 'The Mirror,' which poems contain these themes: the distorted truth, face value, hiding behind a 'mask' and/or appearance in general?

    Manchester, England
    Sunday, June 6, 1999

    Well, Carol, I spent a whole semester once trying to convince my professor of Plath's feminism (in the stories) to no avail. I also thought of "Death & Co." and "A Birthday Present" (such chilling poems!) as perhaps fitting your thesis. Are you going to include all the sinister old lady/mother/other women poems of Plath's like "The Tour" and "Kindness"? Or is this a female/ male dynamic only?

    Deborah Phelps
    Huntsville,TX, USA
    Thursday, June 3, 1999

    Carol, I'm currently looking at the Rabbit Catcher.

    Not to say that there aren't master/slave images (esp. the dull hands around the china mug, too close an image to hands around a white china neck for comfort) but I have interpreted it more a poem about the suppression of truths.

    There is the gagging of her mouth and the blinding of her eyes. The speaker is stopped from giving voice and from seeing. Then there are the lives of the dead, squeezed out of some press, so that they ooze out onto the sea like oil. And the atmosphere is like a pressure cooker, the day "simmering" with candles and perfume (the ritual element, the tradition which Hughes defends in his similarly-titled poem).

    Outside of the poem, this theme of suppression endures. Hughes omitted this from her version of "Ariel". It is one of the poems (also "Event") notably about Hughes, his infidelity and their marital problems. Then his poem is published in Birthday Letters, which presents (or attempts to supplant with) his version of the truth, his perspective on the event. When one reads it, it delivers such a reasonable, considered point-of-view that Plath's speaker comes across as a drama queen.

    So. A different interpretation to consider. Linda Wagner mentions it in her biography of SP. Jacqueline Rose's version raised hell with the Plath estate. Anne Stevenson called it another example of Plath "adapting immediate experience to her self-destructive perspective" (I don't agree with the act as being termed "self-destructive").

    Ivy Imbuido
    Hobart, Tasmani, Australia
    Thursday, June 3, 1999

    Thank you, Deborah, for infusing some regenerated interest on my thesis topic. (For I must admit, sheepishly, that between a new job assignment and the normal interferences of life, I haven't given it much attention lately.) "The Detective" is an excellent reference, one that I hadn't considered before, and I thank you for it. And perhaps now is the time to expand upon my Plathian interpretation of the "master/slave" and "domination/submission" theme. Maybe that will reopen some discussion on this topic. (I hope, I hope).

    Judith Benjamin suggests that submission implies the DESIRE to be dominated, as well as the renunciation of self. She also states that submission is motivated by the fear of separation and abandonment. Thus, consider the implications of Plath's journal entry after her marriage -- "Here I am, Mrs Hughes!" Does her new status of "Mrs. Hughes" (while continuing to publish under her maiden surname) suggest her desire for both domestic servitude and domestic security (in giving up her own identity for her husband's)? Probably not - but contrast that very simple journal entry with philosophies expressed in "The Applicant," as well as Esther Greenwood's anti-marriage stance in "The Bell Jar" - and you have a pretty ambivalent presentation of one 1950's pre-feminist's attitude toward domination.

    Consider, too, the title of Plath's (arguably) most famous poem, and the title of her last poetry collection, "Ariel." Yes, Ariel was a beloved horse. And yes, the poem (in its superficial reading) nearly shouts exuberance at a horseback ride at dawn. But now consider Shakespeare's Ariel -- who was held in servitude by his master, Prospero. Considering that early literary imagery, doesn't Plath's "Ariel" (the book, and the poem) take on a whole new shading?

    I've mentioned "The Rabbit Catcher" in earlier postings -- a poem that is key to my thesis. And I also suggest "The Jailer" and her short story "Sunday at the Mintons" as applicable material. For pre-Ariel references, consider "Pursuit," "The Glutton," "Full Fathom Five" and "Mushrooms" (thank you for that one, Peter Steinberg!) All are good illustrations of my theme.

    Yes, Deborah, the Bee Sequence is a fine reference -- and one that will most likely serve as conclusion to my paper. For within those poems, the female persona truly comes to terms with her female positon in a male-dominated mid-century society. And like the she-phoenix of "Lady Lazarus," rises triumphant.

    I'm not sure this rambling posting will create any discussion - nor am I sure, really, that it makes much sense. I'm just hoping that my own personal muse-of-the-thesis returns soon, and that all of you wonderful Forum readers are inspired to contribute a comment!

    Carol Petrone
    Southfield, MI, USA
    Wednesday, June 2, 1999

    In response to Carol Petrone's remarks on the "master/slave" image-clusters in Plath's poetry: I tend to see Plath's views in poems like "The Jailer" and "Daddy" (among others) as part of the self-mythologizing all poets do, and what Plath in particular commonly does as a way of dramatizing her plight or situation. That is, Plath tries to publically put the "best face" on any bad experience by evisioning herself as the victims of others (Dido Merwin most famously posits this, but even Aurelia Plath notes in Letters Home that Sylvia on occasion lied about her actions to obtain sympathy).

    We see in the letters and journals that Plath consistently believed (or told others she believed) that forces or people worked against her, i.e., the dreaded college science course, colleagues at Smith, her husband's friends, and ultimately her husband himself). "The Detective" is a good example of this self-dramatization as victim: the narrator has been literally diasappeared by the forces of distruction in her marriage.

    Other poems,of course, try to remedy this pathology: "I have a self to recover/ A queen" in "Wintering." Ultimately, I suppose, I see it as a part of Plath's personal bedevilment by depression and narcisscism emerging in her art to an effective purpose. I'm afraid I've rambled along here too much. Hope this helps.

    Deborah Phelps
    Huntsville,TX, USA
    Tuesday, June 1, 1999

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    This forum is administered by Elaine Connell, author of Sylvia Plath: Killing The Angel In The House - second edition with new preface just out, December 1998. Elaine lives in Hebden Bridge, near where Sylvia Plath is buried and where Ted Hughes was born. Web Design by Pennine Pens. This forum is moderated - contributions which are inappropriate, anonymous or likely to offend may be edited or omitted.