Saturday, 25 August 2018

Plath Auction

I didn’t win anything in the Plath auction earlier this year but it wasn’t for lack of trying, I was bidding on the blue triangular necklace but it went way past my limit. It was fabulous to watch. Now impatiently waiting for Volume 2 of her letters to be published. Thank you to a dear friend for this copy of The Bell Jar all the way from Paris.

Monday, 16 May 2016

I am still here...


I am still around and Plathing. Waiting, waiting for Karen Kukil and Peter Steinberg's massive tome The Collected Letters... So excited.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Still Plathing

Sorry for so long without a post, I did not realise just how long.

I am still teaching all things Plath, adoring my collection, no major purchases for awhile, and keeping an eye out for Plath treasures. If any readers spot a treasure they think I might like please send a link my way.

Also, everyone keep an eye out for 'Fixed Stars Govern A Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath' by Julia Gordon-Bramer coming out soon!

Happy Plath-ing

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Bell Jar and Ariel... Again

My new 1st edition of 'The Bell Jar' and 'Ariel' are here, yes I purchased another Ariel as well. That now makes 6 (ahem 1st editions of Ariel and 2 of The Bell Jar -Victoria Lucas version, just a wee addiction).

Pictures soon!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sylvia Plath - "I have done it again..."

Yes, like Lady Lazarus I have done it again. I just might have stumbled across, well, no, stalked, another lovely first edition of The Bell Jar from 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas.
It is very pretty, so (when it arrives in several months) I will be having an archival solander box made for it, one for my prettiest Ariel and one for The Colossus.  These will be made at the lovely Chasdor Bindery

Yes, I have done it again and the collection swells.


Friday, 1 February 2013

Plathery late than never - More Sylvia Plath collecting

More Sylvia Plath collecting!

I am not a regular blogger, but am still here, slowly (or not so slowly) building the Plathery. Another Ariel has joined the collection since I took the first photo below, so that makes 5 beautiful Faber 1965 firsts and 4 - just as loved - later Ariels with the iconic cover. Can you tell I have a soft spot for it?

I have also included a picture of the growing Plathery as a whole (with my dear husband's Star Wars Lego atop). Many lovely treasures are not very visible in the image, as they stand sideways in the lower shelf,  like limited editions and proof copies.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sylvia Plath - Three Women performance

I went to a play, I made my sister come with me, of course it was Sylvia Plath related!

Sylvia Plath’s  Three Women,  a ‘poem for three voices’, is a powerful piece that moves between the voices of three women capturing their individual experiences of pregnancy, yet also revealing connected and powerful emotions. Three Women was directed by Melanie Thomas and performed by Caged Birds Productions at The Owl and the Pussycat as part of The Melbourne Fringe Festival. The performance I attended was Saturday the 13th of October.

Sparsely set the layout of the small stage area was effectively used as a the three female characters moved seamlessly between a rocking chair downstage left, a small bed and a lamp to the right, and the rear brick wall which acted as a centre transition point. These items were used effectively as physical props to the women shaping their bodies to these items accordingly to reflect their emotional state. The smallness of the space was also, I felt, to the actors’ advantage as it increased the intimacy and intensity of the piece.

The First Woman was acted by Gabrielle Savrone, who bought both a wistful tenderness to the part, her early joy clear in her light delivery, and a very immediate intensity conveyed as her character faced the reality of giving birth. She also expressed the wondering love of a new mother questioning softly “Who is he, this blue, furious boy, / Shiny and strange, as if he had hurtled from a star?” convincingly speaking both to her new son and to the audience, drawing us into her new-found marveling.

The build up to the First and Second Woman giving birth was powerfully conveyed through sound. As the First woman reveals “This ram of blackness.  I fold my hands on a mountain. / The air is thick.  It is thick with this working. / I am used.  I am drummed into use” there was a palpable sense of labour conveyed. Plath’s potent lines from stanza 19 onwards, until the birth of the boy and girl child, were punctuated by groans, puffs, sighs and utterances culminating in the stage lights cutting to blackness as the women cried out as in child birth.

The Third Woman was portrayed by Carly Grayson, who was suitably youthful yet womanly in appearance, evoking a strong sense of both innocence lost and experience painfully gained, which echoed in her repetition of “What is it I miss?”  The difficultly of her decision seen in her emotional delivery of:
“I am a wound walking out of hospital.
I am a wound that they are letting go.
I leave my health behind.  I leave someone
Who would adhere to me:  I undo her fingers like bandages:  I go.”

The Second Woman played by Narda Shanley was my, and my sister’s, favourite. With simple and small expressions and gestures she clearly conveyed the pain of loss after loss, the resignation, the inevitability, the muted anger and the intense sadness of infertility in tight well-paced moments. I felt myself hold my breath at her direct yet subtly pained delivery of;
“When I first saw it, the small red seep, I did not believe it.
I watched the men walk about me in the office.  They were so flat!
There was something about them like cardboard, and now I had caught it,
That flat, flat, flatness from which ideas, destructions,
Bulldozers, guillotines, white chambers of shrieks proceed,
Endlessly proceed--and the cold angels, the abstractions.”

However, I also found great hope and tenderness in her delivery of the poem’s final lines “The little grasses / Crack through stone, and they are green with life.” Director Melanie Thomas made a wise decision when casting Shanley as the Second Woman as her clear stage presence and restrained delivery made her pain all the more real and powerful.

The three voices work together to capture shared and divers experiences of reproduction, love and loss. Plath skillfully provides insight into the minds of her three women, using compelling and psychologically convincing metaphors and images to convey the complex ways pregnancy, childbirth and infertility effect individuals. Melanie Thomas and Caged Birds Productions are to be commended on their interestingly both restrained and visceral production.

(Though there were some factual errors that I found in the program which my sister sarcastically suggested I should point out to the audience before the performance... you can guess what I told her... though I did point them out to the complete strangers next to us...)

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Apologies for lack of all things Sylvia Plath...

Apologies for my lack of updates, life got in the way, not bad, just busy. There will be more updates soon on things and puchases regarding Sylvia Plath (and Ted Hughes). In the meantime here is a slightly Plath related post, a 'Poem for a Birthday' so to speak for a dear friend who is an archivist, historian and superb Plathophile indeed. Cheers to you Mr Steinberg at the fabulous

The Archivist
He dwells amongst
Papers, documents,
Letters and manuscripts.
Paper becomes breath.

It is a silent space,
A world of the past
That with gentle care
Remains vitally present.

He is captivated by history,
Propelled by a desire
To preserve and
The need to catalogue

And collate the
Haunting ephemera
Of other lives
That echo and call.

They insistently whisper
Across decades
That there is more to
Their stories if you look.

Authorless  words —
But not dead matter.
This is not a tomb
Where words rest

Silent and still
As spectral voices
Ask him to please
Return to them.

Return again and again.
That by sharing them
And keeping them
From the dust,

By searching amongst
Words and images —
Something more than
What once was endures.

This is the quiet world
Of the archivist
Carefully tending to
These ghostly archives.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Ariel, Ariel and more Ariel

I love the cover design of the first publication of Ariel. It is bold, it is arresting, it is strong. I love the angularity and jaggedness of the lettering and the definite nature of the blocks of colour. I think I am a little obsessed with it. I have two 1965 first editions, first impressions and am considering a third. Then there are the two 1972 editions and a 1967 copy on the way - all as striking as the next. I imagine a piece of artwork made from images of at least 20 copies, from the pristine to the raggedy. Okay, not all images being from copies I own, but hey I am getting there. I will post a photo when the '67 arrives. What is your favourite Plath-related cover design?

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes stand on my desk

Birthdays can mean many fun, thoughtful and 'we know you well' gifts.

One lovely friend made me a piece of art that consists of all Plath's published works (their titles) as a framed composition. Others kindly sent me a tiny Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. All three, now sit happily on my desk at work.

The dolls are made by the delightful Debbie Ritter at

Thank you dear friends.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Sylvia Plath touched this!


Finally Still Life with Pots and Fruit the pen and ink drawing by Sylvia Plath from 1957, is here. It is here, it is framed, and is on my wall (near my Plath book collection) where I can see it every day, and I do look at it each and every day. On the back is handwritten in that familiar Hughes' scrawl 'By Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes', so there is a little bit of Hughes here too.

I love all my Sylvia Plath items; there is not one favourite piece – though several are particular teacher’s pets. However, there is something special, something intangible about the very tangibility of this drawing. The fact that Sylvia Plath created it, she touched it, and now so have I adds a distinctive quality to it. There is a different sort of connection here, perhaps like owning a draft or a letter, which I do not, that makes it seem less distant than a final published product.

It is here, it is lovely and it has its place in my collection, a collection that hopefully will continue to draw together pieces of Sylvia Plath for me.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

A very Sylvia Plath birthday

It is almost my birthday so I thought I would make myself a Plath inspired cake. It was a fun, but rushed, job, and was also very tasty. Must work on my proprotions though. Alex said 'Mummy why did you make this cake?', I said 'Why do you think I made it Alex?' to which he replied 'because you really like that book Mummy, you have lots of it.' Good reply funny small boy.

Happy almost birthday to me; lovely presents as 'Still life with pots and fruit' and 'Howls and Whispers' have arrived!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Sylvia Plath - the pleasure of odds and ends

This post is named after one of Plath's drawings from the Mayor exhibition as it is one of bits and pieces.

By Mid-January some gems will have arrived. Hughes' Howls and Whispers and Plath's Still Life with Pots and Fruit and there WILL be pictures.

Also, I have yet to find the annotator of my copy of The Colossus, but did uncover a Plath connection in the process so far. The bookseller revealed the annotator was a 'Claire'. Dear friends in England went through property records from 1960 - 1963 for me for the address in the annotation (see earlier post) and uncovered a Claire there that I must chase down, and another dear friend uncovered a Claire living in the country who could be the annotator.

I contacted her, a lovely elderly woman, who was sadly not my annotator but who had met Plath, Hughes and Frieda through Elizabeth Sigmund. They had spent the day at this Claire's home when looking to move to Devon. This Claire seemed a little sad at not making much of an appearance anywhere in Plath's story, journals etc, but was happy to share her small connection with me and I was thankful for this. we have had several lovely email communications.

I found a Claire, a Plath linked generous Claire, but still wonder about the Colossus annotator.

the search continues...

Friday, 4 November 2011

All this and art too - The Mayor Gallery exhibit of 'Sylvia Plath's Drawings'

Yes, we Plathophiles know Plath for her way with words, but she had the ability to work visually as well which sometimes gets lost. You can see all of the images for this exhibition at the Mayor Gallery's site:

Oh I wish I could go...

That said, purchasing something that Plath actually created, something immediate, something that was in her hand, that she has touched, was always thought to be beyond me.

Not anymore! All the pieces were for sale - I think all have now sold.

Next year I will be in possession of  'Still Life with Pots and Fruit' from 1957. Oh Joy!

More updates to come, I am slowly getting this blog back on track. There will be more pictures of the art piece once received and in place.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Happy Birthday Sylvia Plath and Nana Faye

Sylvia Plath would be the same age as my beloved Nana Faye, whose birthday was only 5 days ago.
  • Sylvia Plath has 2 children, my Nana has 3.
  • Sylvia Plath was a poet, author, and mother, my Nana worked in a crayfish factory, and is a mother, grandmother and great grandmother.
  • Sylvia Plath sadly died young, my Nana is thankfully still here; alert, tender and feisty.
  • Sylvia Plath conformed to, and fought against, the social expectations on women during her time, my Nana continues to surprise with a very modern outlook on the world and social behaviour.
  • Sylvia Plath went from America, to England, the Continent and back and forth, my Nana has travelled Australia and Asia.
  • Sylvia Plath expressed a literary dark humour, while my Nana has a cheekiness about her and an, often surprising, quick wit.
  • Sylvia Plath experienced emotional upheavals and battled personal demons, however, my Nana is steadfast, stable and utterly optimistic.
  • Sylvia Plath's work influences my teaching and literary tastes, yet my Nana influences my values, my beliefs and my very way of living.
Happy Birthday Sylvia, you live on in your work.
Happy Birthday Nana Faye, you are warm, wonderful and much more influential than you believe you are.

Nana Faye and Alex last Christmas.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Apologies for lack of Plathery

I musy apologise sincerely for my lack of updates - delightfully robust small children, a busy, busy workplace and definite lack of sleep all got in the way. I will get on the case this weekend.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Proof copy of Sylvia Plath's Winter Trees and...

A find!

Also, news coming soon about the search for the annotator of my 1960 copy of Sylvia Plath's The Colossus.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Plath's Senior Thesis '55 ~ The Magic Mirror

I recently had the honour to do business with the lovely, lovely Roy Watkins of The Embers Handpress. I purchased an unbound copy of Plath's Senior Thesis, The Magic Mirror: A Study of the Double in Two of Dostoevsky's Novels, printed in 1989, which he then kindly and most beautifully bound for me. 

Embers Handpress is a small private press in Wales, UK who, between 1974 and 1990, produced limited editions of modern and classic literature. Recently, after a break of fifteen years, they decided to start printing and binding once again and I am most glad they did. They currently have a brilliant online catalogue of Ted Hughes rarities and paraphernalia, which is incredibly tempting.

Do take a look at the site!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Sylvia Plath ~ Three Women

Plath's Three Women, published by Turret Press in 1968, is a beautiful piece. It was limited to 180 copies and contains an introduction by Douglas Cleverdon and Plath's verse play. The images within the book and on the cover are stunning, either black or gold. Their simplicity and elegance make this a most lovely package.

I would love to hear it on the radio as it was meant to be and often wonder, despite its length, whether I should tackle it as a poem with my students as the three voices work so effectively. However, it is often, and was, performed as a stage play mid this month, for more information, though the performance has past, please follow the link to relevant page on the wonderful sylviaplathinfo page.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Holidays and hopefully much Plathery

Thankfully HOLIDAYS are here, so hopefully over the next three weeks I can make up for my lack of updates. Thank you for your patience.