Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Me and Sylvia Plath

I know I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but: One week from today is Election Day. Please, please vote! And if you can, try to learn something about your smaller local races, too -- City Council, County Commissioners, School Board, whatever you've got where you are. It's important to vote for your Senators and Congresscritters, but the local issues are awfully important, too. I especially try to find out something about my local School Board races, because what's going to change the world more than making sure the kids in your town are getting a good education?

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A quick Google News search on "Sylvia Plath" tells me that a lot of newspapers & other sources are picking up the story about the newly-discovered Sylvia Plath poem which is set to appear in Blackbird tomorrow. I am so tickled that my poem "Opening the Hive" will appear in the same issue. Not just because Plath was a big influence on me when I first got serious about poetry (though she was), and not just in the selfish hope that the Plath publicity will draw a few more readers for my poem (who knows if that will happen) -- but also because Plath's poem was discovered in the manuscript collections of the Lilly Library, the rare-books library here at Indiana University, where I work -- yep! -- in the library system. In fact, I worked in the Lilly one summer while I was an undergrad, as a page/shelver. I remember coming across some of the books from Plath's library there, and touching them almost reverently. We also have, in addition to a lot of manuscript materials, a set of paper dolls she made when she was young -- and even a lock of her hair, which is a little creepy but whatever.

And not only THAT, but I wrote "Opening the Hive" after reading Marianne Boruch's essay, "Plath's Bees," which I found in Poets Teaching Poets: Self and the World. I wouldn't go so far as to say my poem responds, exactly, to Plath or to Boruch; it was more a case of "ooh! bees! a beehive is a cool image to use in a poem!" -- but the connection is there, nonetheless.

Too cool.

Edited 11-01-06 to add:
Here's a link to Sylvia Plath.
And here's a link to me.

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Also cool: an email today accepting two of my poems -- both fairly new ones -- for the Fall/Winter 06 issue of Pebble Lake Review. Thanks to Amanda!

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Happy Halloween to all. If the veil between this world and the next is truly thin tonight -- may that be a source of understanding and inspiration, not fear.

And failing that, at least a good hard sugar coma.

9 comments:

Lyle Daggett said...

"If the veil between this world and the next is truly thin tonight..."

That may keep me up tonight. (Cold here, somewhere around 27 degrees when I got to work this morning, with wind. Moon tonight a little past half full. Rough weather on trick-or-treaters, but good for ghosts.)

Steven D. Schroeder said...

Congrats on PLR, Anne. I believe we'll both have poems in the same issue. :-)

Anne said...

Lyle: Dude, you live in Minnesota. If it weren't cold in October, I'd worry. ;)

Steve: Thanks! Glad to know I'll be in good company!

Montgomery Maxton said...

I printed Plath and you and will be pocketing them to lunch with me here in approx 40 mins.

Artichoke Heart said...

I was always a little stunned by the Lilly collections, and in particular all the Plath holdings. And yeah . . . the lock of hair so creepy but kind of weirdly fabulous too!

Peter said...

Congrats, Anne. I enjoyed your poem, alot. The medical imagery is really stunning.

How fun for you to be in these pages with Plath! (And Sam Pereira . . . no relation, at least not that I know of).

Anne said...

MM: Hope we were good lunch company!

ArtHeart: I know! My reaction to the hair was like "I want to touch it... EW, no, that's gross, get it away from me... can I touch it?" (We have Upton Sinclair's dentures, too. Speaking of "ew"!)

Peter: Thanks! Glad the medical imagery worked for you -- I always worry that stuff like that will flop, since I'm no more a doctor than I am George Clooney. ;)

Garbo said...

It's so great that your bee poem will be in the same issue with the newly-found Plath poem. Poetic justice, as it were.

Somebody once told me that at the Lilly Library, a librarian turns the pages of rare books for you, and they have a little pillow thing they lay over the spread-open pages. I know the policy is to preserve the materials but it sounds luxurious and I would feel important if I was the one doing the research. I am a slow reader, though, so I hope the page-turner gets to sit down.

Jilly said...

awesome