Sylvia Plath is one of the most important and influential poets of the 20th century.
She was also a novelist, a beekeeper, a home cook, an artist who didn’t reach the height of her powers until after she had children, and one half of a notorious marriage in literary history.
To get an overview of the life along with the legend, we’ll begin this book club with some nonfiction: a short, snappy biography by Diane Middlebrook called Her Husband.
Then we will read Plath’s famous novel The Bell Jar, a fictionalized version of her experience as a summer guest editor for Mademoiselle magazine. A scathing and unflinching novel set in summertime New York City, it charts a young woman's descent into mental illness.
Then we will read Plath’s masterpiece: Ariel.
The poetry collection Ariel as it was originally published in 1965 was edited and arranged by Plath’s husband, Ted Hughes. Ariel: The Restored Edition, published in 2004, matches the manuscript that was sitting on Plath’s desk after her suicide.
We will be looking at them side by side.
If you are intimidated by poetry: never fear. There will be plenty of other beginners here too. Let some brilliant artists and teachers tell you what they see.
With special guests Kary Wayson, April Bernard, Dana Levin, and Maria Semple.
This club will be led by Christopher Frizzelle, the former editor-in-chief of The Stranger, who will lead the discussions about Plath's fiction and nonfiction; and Mark Wunderlich, the award-winning poet and the director of Bennington Writing Seminars, who will lead the discussions of Plath's poetry." (Promo Copy)