Sylvia Plath poems discovered

Two Sylvia Plath poems have been discovered by academics this week after remaining hidden in one of her old carbon paper notebooks for 50 years.

The academics who discovered it, Gail Crowther and Peter K Steinberg, also found two unseen photos of Plath.

Steinberg used Photoshop to recover the poems and a picture of a woman staring into a pool of water at her own reflection.

The first poem to be revealed is titled ‘To a Refractory Santa Claus’, and makes me wonder if it will provide any further insight into a 1961 BBC interview where Plath spoke about her childhood and how she believed in magic up until the age of nine.

“At nine, I was rather disillusioned,” Plath said.

“I stopped believing in elves and Santa Claus and all these little beneficent powers, and became more realistic and depressed.”

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Sylvia Plath and her husband Ted Hughes, photo by Teddie Phillips

 

Plath and her ex-husband Ted Hughes had also caught the attention of literature lovers earlier this year, in April, after letters Plath wrote alleging Hughes was abusive surfaced.

Hughes widow Carol Hughes however said the letters were “absurd” and not to be taken as truth.

This is a reminder that when looking at historical texts like this we must always be engaging with them critically.

Plath was an incredibly intelligent woman, but she was also very mentally unstable in the weeks leading up to her suicide so it will most likely always remain unclear whether her letters about Hughes were the truth.

I personally believe that there is an eerie type of rawness to her claims, but I’ll let it remain a mystery for now.

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Sylvia Plath on campus at uni, taken by Judy Denison

Discovering these two new poems, and insights into two famous and influential people is incredibly exciting, and it makes me hope that we can reveal new facts about other literary greats and figures in history.

The technology we now have and what we can do with it is utterly amazing, and I believe we are in a whole new age of discovery of the past of humans and of literature.

Let me know what you think, are you excited to read Plath’s new poems? Or are you just sceptical?

 

Why to buy books locally

Amazon, the world’s largest book seller, has recently come under fire from authors and creatives for not paying them appropriately for their work.

As a struggling university student studying Creative Writing, I’m always looking for a cheap way to buy books whilst also supporting the wonderful authors who provide us with entertainment.

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Libraries are still the best place to get books. Photo taken by Mark爱生活

Incidences like this with Amazon (along with outrageous international shipping prices) only strengthen my belief in supporting our local booksellers.

I used to think The Book Depository was a good alternative, until three of the books I ordered didn’t arrive and I realised the company had been bought by Amazon in 2011.

Personally, I now only buy books from Australian owned companies, like Booktopia, or just buy from my local bookstore.

I understand buying from international booksellers, the books can be cheaper and you can often find a much larger variety, but as someone hoping to publish my own novels in Australia one day, I find myself morally obliged to support our local publishers.

If I want something a bit more niche, like the latest copy of the Library Wars manga, I’ll look up one of my favourite Melbourne based stores, Minotaur, and still be able to support Australian business.

At the end of the day, my local library has always been the book supplier I hold dearest to my heart, and who in my eyes, can do no wrong.

Let me know what you think.