The Sylvia Plath Method

Starting off at the top, it’s amazing how much behind-the-scenes work goes into the apparently magical appearance of Sylvia Plath onto the scene.

Like a swan, there was an amazing amount of work going on beneath the surface.In “Bitter Fame” by Anne Stevenson we learn that Sylvia typed out and posted her own and Ted Hughes’ on a regular basis. at any time there would betwenty or so manuscripts on editors’ desks. If they returned, rejected, she resorted them into different packages and posted them off again elsewhere. This, before the internet, took organisation , trips to the Post Office and costs of SAEs too.

Working towards a collection of forty or fifty poems, she produced a finished poem every ten days.

As I stand ironing rejected manuscripts for their crisp reposting (editors expect perfection) I think of her and her defiance.


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