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Posts Tagged ‘Sylvia Plath’

The Best Worst One-Star Reviews of Books

The Love Reading, Hate Books blog collects one-star reviews from Amazon and Goodreads, sharing the opinions of readers who hated reading classic works of literature.

The collected reviews range from a one-sentence dismissal of James Joyce to a reader frustrated by Sylvia Plath‘s The Bell Jar. Here is a classic angry response to Albert Camus‘ The StrangerCheck it out:

I read this book in High School and hated it with such a passion I still remember it (11 years later). I was initially interested in it because we were studying philosophy and after a few questionnaires and stuff like that I was tagged as being an existentialist. From the way they described it it sounded about right and I was looking forward to reading a book centered pretty heavily around that. I was greatly disappointed when we started the book, but wanted to give it a chance, but it (like the main character) never really got going. I may be wrong but my take on existentialism isn’t sit around bored and lazy all day until something external changes your life. If this book is what existentialism is about I’m an anti-existentialist.

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Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath & Allen Ginsberg Portraits in New Art Show

The National Portrait Gallery is hosting a special exhibition called “Poetic Likeness: Modern American Poets.” This art show will be on view until April 28th.

Historian David C. Ward curated this exhibits. You can find Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore and Allen Ginsberg in the show.

Here’s more about the exhibition: “‘Poetic Likeness’ will provide a documentary record of modernist poetry through compelling portraits—from the museum’s collection—and include extensive quotations from each poet. Additionally, audiovisual clips will show poets reading their own works.”

‘The Bell Jar’ Cover Inspires Online Parodies

When the UK publisher Faber released the cover art for a 50th anniversary edition of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, online critics attacked the controversial cover image.

Below, we’ve collected parody book covers inspired by the updated cover, including A Hunger Games-themed cover, go-go dancers and clowns. What is your favorite?

The London Review of Books wrote about the controversy:

The first edition of The Bell Jar to appear under Sylvia Plath’s name was published by Faber in 1967, with a cover designed by Shirley Tucker. This month Faber have brought out a 50th anniversary edition of the novel (it was first published by Heinemann in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas), with a cover about as far from Tucker’s Bridget Rileyish concentric circles as you can get: a stock photo from the 1950s of a woman with a powder compact. As Dustin Kurtz, a marketing manager at Melville House, tweeted, “How is this cover anything but a ‘f*** you’ to women everywhere?”

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Faber & Faber Offers Online Writing Courses

Faber & Faber, the storied publisher that published T.S. EliotMarianne Moore, James Joyce, Tom Stoppard and Sylvia Plath, now offers online writing creative courses.

The publisher launched Faber Academy Online, a 28-week course that costs £2800 (about $4,400). The publisher first offered writing courses in 2008. What do you think–should publishers offer creative writing classes?

Here’s more from the release: “Chatrooms, topic forums and specially commissioned video content from Faber editors will be combined with one-to-one Skype feedback and podcasts to create a unique learning experience … The first offering to run on the new platform will be Writing A Novel, a 28-week programme based on the face-to-face course of the same name that has already brought huge success for the writers S. J. Watson and Rachel Joyce.”

Sylvia Plath Drawings Displayed at Mayor Gallery

Today would have been Sylvia Plath‘s 79th birthday. In her honor, Flavorpill has posted up sixteen images from the book Sylvia Plath: Her Drawings and Dadamaino: Volumes.

With the blessing of Plath’s daughter, Frieda Hughes, 44 of Plath’s pen and ink drawings will be displayed in London’s Mayor Gallery for the first time. The exhibit will last from November 2nd until December 16th. According to Flavorpill, the drawings range from French street life to scenes from the Spanish countryside. In the image embedded above (via), Plath drew a kiosk near the Louvre museum.

In a guest piece for The Guardian, Hughes explained: “Although my mother is known primarily for her semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar and her poetry – particularly her last collection, Ariel, published posthumously in 1965 following her suicide on 11 February 1963 – her passion for art permeated her short life. Her early letters and diary notes and poems were often heavily decorated, and she hoped that her drawings would illustrate the articles and stories that she wrote for publication.” What do you think of Plath’s drawings?

Lewis Carroll Reads ‘Jabberwocky’

In honor of National Poetry Month, we dug up an animated video of children’s author Lewis Carroll reading his poem, “Jabberwocky.”

The poem originated in Carroll’s novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland.

The poetryreincarnations channel on YouTube features videos where great poets are “reincarnated” through animation to read some of the most celebrated poetry of all time. Check it out and you’ll find clips with Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson.

Authors Who Doodled

Flavorpill has collected the doodles of famous authors, including Sylvia Plath, David Foster Wallace, Vladimir Nabokov, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Allen Ginsberg, Mark Twain, Henry Miller, Kurt Vonnegut, and Jorge Luis Borges.

The drawings ranged from insect portraits to nightmare images. Wallace drew one of the funnier pieces, doodling glasses and fangs on a photo of Cormac McCarthy.

Vonnegut (pictured with his artwork, via) incorporated many of his drawings into his books. He even had his own art gallery exhibitions. What author should illustrate their next book?

Ted Hughes’ Reaction to Sylvia Plath’s Suicide Revealed in New Poem

A newly released poem written by Ted Hughes directly addresses the writer’s reaction to the suicide of his first wife, Sylvia Plath.

After securing permission from Hughes’ widow Carol, The New Statesman published the piece entitled Last Letter. British actor Jonathan Pryce reads from the poem in the BBC video embedded above.

Normally, Hughes’ process to “complete” the writing of a poem was to type the finalized version. Several draft versions of Last Letter were found in Hughes’ handwritten notebooks. The earliest draft of the poem is contained in a blue exercise book now owned by the British Library’s Ted Hughes archive.
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BBC Poetry Series Drives Sales

JohnDonne.jpgA recent spate of poetry-related material has driven poetry sales in the U.K., selling copies of books that had languished on national shelves.

According to Bookseller, the BBC’s Poetry Season project actually motivated people to go to the bookstore. The multimedia series–with video interviews, articles, and a long list of poetry specials–generated a 92 percent increase in sales of Sylvia Plath poetry and a 300 percent increase in sales of John Donne (pictured, via) poetry.

Here’s more from the article: “According to Nielsen BookScan, sales of John Milton‘s Paradise Lost increased three-fold during the week following Armando Iannucci‘s analysis of the poem on BBC2 on 27th May, while sales of John Murray‘s £20 volume, The Collected Poems of George Mackay Brown, have increased by 844.4%, thanks to the poet’s ‘Hamnavoe’ being highlighted on BBC4′s ‘Poet’s Guide to Britain.’”