Anwen Crawford reflects on newly published letters from Sylvia Plath; “The belief among many of Plath’s devotees seems to be that if we can get clear of other people’s fingerprints on her texts, allowing Plath to ‘fully narrate her own autobiography,’ as the editors here describe it, we will at last solve the riddle of her. The extremities of her poetry will balance against the circumstances of her life; the latter will equal the former. But her griefs were ordinary; it is what she did with them that wasn’t. Plath turned her common sorrows—dead father, mental illness, cheating husband—into something like an origin story for pain itself, as if her own pain preceded the world.” In the New Yorker
The Welsh government is hoping that Dylan Thomas can do for Swansea what James Joyce has done for Dublin. This year, officials have announced that £750,000 will be made available for the DT 100 Festival, which will celebrate the centennial of the poet’s birth. Aside from boosting tourism, however, the festival’s organizers also hope to “raise the status of Thomas,” who many feel has “[been] neglected [and had] his work … overshadowed by a conception of the man as a drunkard, scrounger and womaniser.”
“My wife likes to drive. I like to read aloud. So, she takes me places, and I take her places. It’s a match made in heaven — or at least in a Honda.” In honor of World Read Aloud Day, book critic Ron Charles writes about his love of reading out loud for the Washington Post. Pair with: an essay about the importance of reading aloud as adults.
Over thirteen years, John Berryman wrote his famous Dream Songs, composing his most innovative and well-known poetry while his own life began to unravel. In a piece for the LRB, August Kleinzahler reappraises the poet to mark a raft of new editions of his work, citing Randall Jarrell, Saul Bellow and other contemporaries in the process. Pair with Stephen Akey on The Dream Songs.
That Kickstarter is offering more opportunities than ever to literary projects, from Coffee House Press’s Catstarter to the Joan Didion documentary to the Reading Rainbow spin-off, is indisputable. Now there’s yet another worthy cause turning to the crowd-sourcing platform in search of an audience: The Riveter, a magazine of longform journalism by women.
Over at The Point, Spencer McAvoy writes about the language and vision of Joy Williams, a writer who “instead of drawing boundaries between us and whatever Other, posits language as an experience of self-limitedness.” Williams’s new collection of short stories, The Visiting Privilege, is one of the most anticipated books of 2015.