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.


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.

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