Smith College Features in New York Exhibit on Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—For the first time in a single location, original letters, manuscripts and photographs will be displayed from both the Sylvia Plath archive at Smith College and from the Ted Hughes archive at Emory University.
The Grolier Club of New York will present the exhibition “No Other Appetite: Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, and the Blood Jet of Poetry” Sept. 14 through Nov. 19, devoted to two of the 20th century’s most celebrated poets, who were partners in marriage and work.
The exhibition documents the close creative relationship between these two poets throughout their seven years of marriage and birth of their two children, as well as the repercussions of Plath’s suicide in the life and work of her husband, the late poet laureate of Great Britain, said Karen V. Kukil, associate curator of rare books at Smith.
“Theirs was one of the most important poetic collaborations of the 20th century,” said Martin Antonetti, curator of rare books at Smith. “The two collections form a whole.”
Kukil curated the exhibition with Emory’s Steve Enniss. In addition to being owned by Smith College, many manuscripts and books to be displayed are associated withSmith, where Plath received her undergraduate degree in 1955.
Correspondence between college roommate Marcia Brown Stern and Plath records the poet’s excitement during the early days of her marriage, said Kukil. We “write like fury & are each others’ best critics,” Plath wrote to her friend.
Included in the exhibition are pages that contain both Plath’s work and Hughes’ work scrawled on opposite sides of the same paper. “Such items demonstrate the physical interdependence of the poets’ work,” said Kukil.
Plath’s letters to her friends also captured her range of feelings following the collapse of her marriage in 1962. In one letter, written a week before her suicide in February 1963, Plath makes plans for a spring visit with Stern.
Other Smith friends whose correspondences with Plath are featured in the exhibition include Enid Epstein Mark and Ann Davidow Goodman Hayes, Class of 1954; and Elinor Friedman Klein, Class of 1956.
For more information, visit the Grolier Club Web site at www.grolierclub.org.
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation’s foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country.
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