Researchers Find Two Previously Unseen Sylvia Plath Poems
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And more literary news from around the web…
Get ready for your round-up… Sylvia Plath is resurrected with a pair of newfound poems, data gets democratized, Jack White makes a children’s book just in time for his early 2000’s teen fans to start having kids, and Trump and Pope Francis contend for the most awkward book trade of all time.
Two Sylvia Plath Poems Are Unearthed
It’s easy to succumb to the notion that in the canon of heavily researched and studied authors, there’s simply not much left to discover, save for maybe new, thoughtful interpretations of their work or, in the case of Marcel Proust, some pretty entertaining film footage. For Sylvia Plath, who has attracted devout attention from readers and academics alike, what more could there be? Hell, they’ve even published the unabridged version of her journals for public consumption. Just when it seemed like there wasn’t much more to dig up, Gail Crowther and Peter K Steinberg have announced a new finding: two of Plath’s poems written on a sheet of carbon paper, titled “To a Refractory Santa Claus” and “Megrims.” According to The Guardian, the pieces had been tucked away in the back of an old notebook, and in the roughly fifty years that researchers poured over her archives, nobody noticed them. With the help of Photoshop, Steinberg was able to decipher the faded ink. He says, “the poems definitely can be classed as early [because] no other copy appears to exist it might be surmised that they aren’t very good.”
Nevertheless, it’s fascinating to see firsthand the development of one of American literature’s most celebrated voices.
[Danuta Kean, The Guardian]
Free Data, Ya’ll (No, Not for Your Phone Plan, But Still Good News!)
Lately, there hasn’t been much to celebrate in terms of our government (that is unless of course you are on the Death Eaters’ side, in which case, congratulations). Politics aside, there’s some news we can all celebrate: The Library of Congress has made 25 million records from its catalog free to download! The public will be able to access the content, here. This is definitely a step in the right direction towards democratized access to information.
[Dan Colman, Open Culture]
Jack White Is Bringing Suzy Lee to the Page
Along with the artist Elinor Blake, Jack White is transforming one of The White Stripes most famous hits, “We’re Going to be Friends,” into the narrative of a children’s book. The original audio from the song, as well as newly performed versions by April March (Blake’s musical alter ego) and The Woodstation Elementary School Singers, will be included in the purchase for digital download. The book will be released in November, shortly after The White Stripes celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band.
[Alex Young, Consequence of Sound]
Award for Most Awkward Book Exchange Goes To Trump & Pope Francis
My mother and I previously won this award when she gifted me Girl Stuff: an early 2000’s guide to puberty and sex, and then forced me to publicly read it while we were vacationing at the beach. I’m quite happy to pass along the trophy to our President and Pope, who engaged in a tenuous, politically charged book swap during Trump’s tour of the Vatican this week. As is customary, the two leaders exchanged gifts; Trump gave the Pope a first edition set of the Martin Luther King’s writings (what’s the over/under on whether or not he’s read them himself?), and Francis gave Trump a copy of his encyclical on climate change, along with a medallion featuring an olive tree, emblematic of his hope for peace.
[Emma Green, The Atlantic]