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Sylvia Plath: Life Between the Lines

Mon
29th April 2019 19:00
Hall One, Kings Place
90 York Way
Blurring the lines between life and art, Sylvia Plath took her personal experiences and wove them into the very fabric of her poetry. But what does it mean to be an artist in the public eye?

Famous for breathing her own life into her poetry, Plath created a seemingly transparent door into her innermost thoughts that kept her pinned in the public eye for the majority of her later years, and the years since her death. With the release of Volume II of Plath’s letters we are able to better understand the processes behind her work, and interrogate the question: what is public, what is private, what is life, and what is art?

When Plath’s first volume of letters were posthumously published in 2017, detailing private messages to family and friends, and her later husband Ted Hughes, we got to once again engage with her refreshingly candid and witty voice, and trace her extraordinary literary development through her earlier years. Now we are offered a new insight into this great poets’ life through the publication of Volume II, containing her letters from the period of 1956 to her death in 1963. This volume documents Plath and Hughes development into major influential contemporary writers, as well as Plath’s rapidly changing life.

But what do these letters mean for the public’s relationship to the poet, and can we think about them as an extension of her art?

Join us as we explore how Plath’s extraordinary life, wrapped in the lines of her poetry, became such an engaging part of her legacy, and how this relationship with the public was navigated by Plath and Hughes. Through selected readings of Plath’s letters, and her poems, we ask what it means for Plath to turn her life into art, with journalist Rachel Cooke, poet Mona Arshi, writer Gail Crowther and esteemed actor Juliet Stevenson.

In collaboration with Faber Members for Faber’s 90th anniversary
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