This Christmas card inlay (click here for larger view), from Sylvia Plath to her beloved English Literature teacher, Mr Crockett was sold at auction in 2009. It is not unlike the card I saw at the UCD Archives, written to Jack and Máire Sweeney, but far more personal and warm. I have transcribed her sentiments as the following:
Dear Mr Crockett,
I was delighted to have your good(?) letter and to know 'The Colossus' is safe in your discerning hands. Most especially Ted and I were joyous to learn of your award and year in New York! We have always longed for the 'excuse' or 'gift' of a year in that superb city, and it is fire to hear how hear how admirably you and the family take to the rich life.
We are extremely happy in our small northern(?) niche in London where Regents' Park, Primrose Hill and the Zoo are our backyard, so to speak and long for a house in an adjoining street. We get ourselves on the cheap play tickets, foreign films, galleries and all the best fare, while living like anonymous creatures, Ted studiously avoiding the requests for public appearances that find their way to us. We had a wonderful dinner with T.S. Eliot (who is an editor at Ted's publishing house), his charming Yorkshire wife and Mr and Mrs Steven Spenser at the Eliots' home here. I was thrilled. Eliot has suggested revisions for Ted's children's book of light verse which Faber is publishing this spring and we treasure the memo with his notes on it. A warm welcome awaits you here anytime you pass through London again!
Fondest Christmas wishes to you, Mrs C and Debbie and Steve!
P.s. Frieda Rebecca Hughes arrives on April first 1960 - at home, delivered by a little Indian midwife and is the sun of our life - we both dote on her!
How lovely to see such a card inlay! Especially now in our era, where sending Christmas cards is now a thing of the past. I have received so many e-cards this year but do miss having bright coloured physical cards on my mantlepiece!
Things have been winding down in University for the winter break. We had a lovely mixer a few weeks ago with mulled wine and mince pies. It was a great opportunity to meet other graduate students within the University. Sometimes I think I can be a little odd in conversation, but I don't think I made any huge mistakes! Working on a project like this PhD, I have found, can be a little lonely at times. I am so grateful and glad to be here and to be studying such a fantastic topic, but there are some days where I miss conversation! Although being holed up in a dark corner of the library watching the snow eternally fall can be really great too. The more I read about Sylvia, the more real a person she becomes. I started off this work trying to seperate myself from her - to do the poetry justice, I needed to distance myself. But I just can't. Reading her journals and letters, looking at Christmas cards and personal memoirs like that of Nancy Hunter Steiner's "A Closer Look at Ariel" have just opened me up to the warmth, wit and wrath of Sylvia Plath! Every day brings something new and interesting. Life as a Plath fan is never dull!
As this blog-entry is more personal than fact-finding, I would like to link to a blog I recently discovered which I feel is just fantastic. BrontëBlog is devoted to the life and work of the Brontë sisters. It is updated practically every day and discusses and links to many essays, books and general information. Really a great site! The Brontës and Victorian Literature are another passion of mine.
Finally, as it's getting near Christmas, I want to finish this entry with a present to anyone who stops by to read! I have talked a little about my literary passions, but not at all about my musical interests! And in fact, there is a Plath-ian link here! My absolute favourite musician in the world is Ryan Adams. And the reason I got into him was that way back many years ago, one of my best friends put a song on a mix-tape for me by him. The song? 'SYLVIA PLATH'.
So as a present (mostly to myself), here is a recording of the terrific, wonderful and talented Ryan Adams singing all about Syl.
You can purchase this song or the amazing album Gold, which features the track on iTunes or Amazon. Better yet, check out the independent record label Ryan has just set up: paxam - and get your kicks from his kaleidoscope of songs. I bet Sylvia would have been a fan!
Merry Christmas everyone!