Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ted reads Sylvia


I'm very interested by Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.There are the obvious reasons but also I feel ,rightly or wrongly an affinity, a connection.
Sylvia was the first poet I ever came across, ok , she was in her grave, but still. I was in Heptonstall with Miss EEjit and had never heard of Sylvia (or any poet) and Miss E had to explain to me who she was.It was shortly after thast I started writing poems.
Something about that place always stayed with me.I've been back once since, but would love to go again.
As for Ted, Birthday letters is perhaps the best book of poetry I've ever read.Ok there aren't many in my list, but still.

And here is a clip of Ted reading Sylvia's poetry , just reading it. How does that feel for him, reading his dead wife's poetry , a poetry above or beyond or behind the shadow of his own,the world looking, listening? What degree of responsibility does he apportion himself , how does it feel? Does he read her poetry as another poet or as the poets husband?Though totally different, paradoxically, I'm struck by the similarities in their delivery, Sylvia though American sounds (almost grand) English in many ways, Ted pure Yorkshire, and yet......


I have my own opinions but all is speculation.Both are now dead, but what a story, what a legacy. Ted's mistress Assia Wevill also gassed herself and their young daughter.Ted and Sylvia's own son, Nicholas, commited suicide earlier this year.Ted and Sylvia gave themselves totally to poetry, they did as it bid.They gave us a lot from poetry but they, and those around them, paid a high price.

24 comments:

ArtSparker said...

Ted Hughes evidently not a good person to be involved with. I don't know...I have trouble with the degree of misery saying anything about the art, although certainly in wanting to remake reality (create) there is an element of destruction.

Niamh B said...

Seems like poetry is a dangerous profession... poignant stuff.

willow said...

You are giving me the creeps, because I just read Plath's "Wuthering Heights" this morning and the book was still here on my desk, so I read along with Ted. Well, I am psychic, so I should just get used to it.

This was a special treat! I, too, am amazed at how similar their deliveries are. I'm also enthralled with both of them. Thanks, Eej.

Karen said...

I'll have to admit that while I've read Sylvia, I haven't read much of Ted's work. Now, I'm intrigued and think I'll have to dive into his work, too. Great musings here.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I don't really know anything about their lives, or their poetry. I wonder why there was so much sadness?

Jeanne Iris said...

That's it! I'm reading Dr. Seuss, just as profound, sense of humour, brought families together, and died of natural causes.

Heather said...

So much inner pain and misery to leave us such a legacy. Depression is an awful thing to cope with and when my youngest daughter suffered with it in the early days of ME I was terrified - I felt so helpless. To have it affecting more than one member of the family would be my nightmare. So many great names from the world of art have had tortured lives yet they give us such beauty - to read, look at or listen to. What a price it comes at.

Rachel Fox said...

Because of the Plath/Hughes story I kept away from their poetry for years. It was just a little too close for comfort (the story...you know, my Dad and everything). Now I am as close as I'm probably ever going to be to being grown-up I am starting to be able to read and listen to the poetry without prejudice/tears. OK, they were good. Too good to live in some cases, perhaps. It happens.

Now, look I'm crying! Jeez! Maybe I'm not ready...
x

Moira said...

That was moving, what a delicious accent he has. I didn't know Sylvia wrote poetry. The only things of hers I have read is the Bell Jar. Thanks for that.

the watercats said...

I don't know much about them, though i recently watched something about their relationship and subsequant tragedies.. just proves my point that truly great poetry is born from trauma... passionate trauma.

Poetikat said...

He sounds pretty detached, to me. They are two fantastic poems though. Wuthering Heights (due more to Kate Bush, than Bronte) was my favourite book when I was in my twenties. I didn't even know of Plath's poem - barely knew of Plath.
Hughes's voice is mesmerizing all the same. The lines about whitening bones really get to you.

(He doesn't look much like Daniel Craig, does he?)

Elisabeth said...

The best book I've read to tell the story of Ted and Sylvia is Janet Malcolm's biography, The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

I heartily recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about the two poets and especially about the myth that is Sylvia Plath.

That's what seems to happen to talented people when they die young. They get turned into myths.

Totalfeckineejit said...

There wascan element of self destruction, but yes i feel ,Sparkey, that if you delve too deep into yourself whether in poetry or Art, it can destroy you.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Poetry should have a public health warning, Mrs Niamh.

Totalfeckineejit said...

You're welcome Willow.Coincidence or what?

Totalfeckineejit said...

Thanksx Karen, get stuck in there!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Bit of sadness bit of madness bit of dabbling in other worlds and most dangerous of all poetry.Hey Raph, you got Liz's book yet?

Totalfeckineejit said...

Depression and creativity are strange bedfellows, but it happens Heather.Hope your daughter found an answer, Heather.Tablets work pretty well overall for me, but they're not for everyone.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Sorry Rachel, I think I should warn you in advance in future.Apologies.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Glad ye liked Moira.Yu can get all Sylvias poetry cheap on the internet.Ariel might be a good one to start with if you like?

Totalfeckineejit said...

Yes Uiscekateens, pain /sadness does seem to be the starting point for a lot of creativity.Maybe if you're happy you dont have to think about or question the world and yourself so much?

Totalfeckineejit said...

Ah, now.Jeanne, 'The Twat in The Hat?' Surely not :)

Totalfeckineejit said...

Thanks Kat, never read Bronte. Perhaps it's time I did.Been to Haworth and the moorsthough and The Black Bull.A real time warp in the middle of modernity.

Jeanne Iris said...

I did not like this reading of Plath. I did not like it in the bath. I did not like it walking on a path. It only stirred an inner wrath. I did not like this reading of Plath. ; )