...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

November 01, 2006

Wednesday is Poetry Day: Sylvia Plath, previously unpublished

It's a bonus Poetry Day this week, as my lunchtime reading alerted me to the fact a previously unpublished sonnet by Sylvia Plath was released online today.

The Blackbird is Virginia Commonwealth University's online literature/arts journal. A contributing editor of the Blackbird, Anna Journey, discovered this sonnet was previously unpublished and argued it should be published. The editorial staff agreed and a transcript, along with images of an early draft and the final version, were released online today with the permission of the estate of Sylvia Plath.

And, as you might imagine, there are copyright notices all over the place on this. As a result, I provide the first line of Ennui, linked to the article in today's issue of the Blackbird:

Tea leaves thwart those who court catastrophe,

Posted by Victor, Nov. 1, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Poetry


What a great find, Victor!
I'm not even close to figuring it out, but it scans nice.

i think she's saying that would rather live a life with lots of drama. If so, I guess she got her wish.

Posted by: annika on Nov. 1, 2006

Yeah, I'm having trouble w/ that one, too. Some of the notes on it I've read said she wrote that while reading The Great Gatsby, which suggests I might have to read that sometime.

Posted by: Victor on Nov. 1, 2006

I like your link, due in no small part to the fact that VCU is my undergraduate alma mater.

Posted by: physics geek on Nov. 2, 2006

The rest of the poem is linked via the entire first line of the poem. When you go to the link, you'll see the word "Ennui" beneath Sylvia Plath's name. Click on that; that takes you to the intro. Below the intro are several links; the two to the images (early and final drafts) and a transcription. It's a very nice poem, though complex.

I'm sending you this roundabout way (instead of just forwarding the link) because I think the background and introductory material are very good and important to understanding the poem. As much as I understand, anyway. :~)

Posted by: Victor on Nov. 3, 2006

Where's the rest of the poem? Help! Here's a guess: without seeing the rest: you know how people--especially the Brits--make cups of tea to soothe themselves. Maybe she was expressing how stopping to make tea can keep one from doing something rash or suicidal. In those days, there weren't as many options for treating severe depression so the act of focusing on the comforting tea ritual might be a distraction from suicidal thinking.

Posted by: Joules on Nov. 3, 2006

Thanks for repeating the info above in an e-mail, Victor. Very kind of you to help out a distracted mother of three. I blame all blips on the craziness inspired by kids and autism (my youngest son, age 9). What a great poem! It feels like the title, especially the way you feel when you realize that all the great stuff you read about doesn't usually happen with such a magical quality in real life. "The alchemy of the written word" is the phrase I read the other day that describes that magic. The poem also points out how dull can get in the modern (or post-modern) world.

Posted by: Joules on Nov. 3, 2006