If ever there was an author whose life dominated appreciation of their work, it’s Sylvia Plath. Her relationship with Ted Hughes and her suicide have informed and influenced how people read her stunning poetry and vibrant stories.
Celebrating the publication of a second edition of her letters, after the first volume of letters were posthumously published in 2017, this event from Poet in the City explored the questions what is public, what is private, what is life, and what is art?
Poetry and letters were beautifully read, interspersing academic analysis and personal reflections. Contemporary poet Mona Arshi explained how Plath influenced her work, and journalist Erica Wagner gave her response to Plath’s work and explored the ethics of reading letters and using them as a lens of Plath’s work.
All writers weave their own life into their work. But few have had their life be such a lens on it. Plath’s life fascinates, and became an enduring part of her poetic legacy.
The event was run by Poet in the City in collaboration with Faber, as part of Faber’s 90th birthday celebrations.