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Faber Publishes New Book of Sylvia Plath’s Drawings

By Harriet Staff


Who knew that Sylvia Plath could pen both artful poetry AND drawings?! Oh, wait, that’s us! From Siobhan Fenton at Fawn Review comes this most welcome heads up!

Regardless of your opinion of Sylvia Plath, there is no denying she made a considerable mark in her short life. Since she first arrived in Cambridge as a Fulbright scholar from Boston, she accrued almost mythical status and a cult like following as a poet, novelist, wife, bright mind and victim of her own genius. This new publication by Faber and Faber is set to introduce fans and scholars alike to a further facet of Plath’s life as their first ever collection of her drawings is published this month; exploring her credentials as an artist.

The sketches in their publication, Sylvia Plath: Drawings, were drawn in the period immediately following Plath’s 1956 marriage until her suicide in 1963. Following her death, the drawings lay in Hughes’ care and were passed down to their two children, Frieda and Nicholas, when they came of age. Following Nicholas’ suicide in 2009, Frieda became the sole owner of the drawings and is the editor of this edition.

The book is a beautiful and well compiled introduction to this little known side of Plath.

As well as an introduction by her daughter Frieda, it contains a wide selection of works from different periods of her life, separated into the places and countries in which they were drawn. Interspersed throughout are letters and a diary entry from Plath discussing her art work.

The drawings record the details of her short life- a cow, a shop front, an umbrella stand, a portrait of her husband Ted Hughes, a bottle of wine, the Parisian skyline- all relayed with a flurry of pen scratches.

The works are odd, cold studies; an impassioned vision relayed with a strong hand whose tension is apparent in its strikes upon the paper. Objects and scenes appear not just depicted but bound to the paper by the ties of Plath’s tensely wrought lines.

Sylvia Plath: Drawings, ed. Frieda Hughes will be available in the UK beginning September 5th. Visit Faber & Faber’s website for more information.

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Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.