Two Unseen Sylvia Plath Poems Have Been Found And We're Very Excited

After 50 years of being undiscovered, they were hiding in the back of an old notebook

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Not only is the sun shining, people, but you also have two new Sylvia Plath poems to wrap your head around.

Best known for capturing young women's minds with her portrait of adolescent angst in The Bell Jar (currently being adapted for film by Kirsten Dunst), this time it's two slightly more obscure texts causing a stir amongst literature fans.

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The poems, titled To a Refractory Santa Claus and Megrims, were written on carbon paper and hidden in the back of one of her old notebooks. The paper was found by scholars who are working on a new book, These Ghostly Archives, which is also filled with lots of lovely (and also unseen) manuscripts and photographs of the author.

They are thought to have been written in 1956 during Plath's volatile marriage to fellow poet Ted Hughes, and offer a glimpse into how the poet worked with her husband. The first is about Spain and it's warmer climates and was written after her honeymoon to Benidorm with Hughes. The second is written from the perspective of a paranoid patient speaking to a doctor about a series of 'irregular incidents'.

Pete K Steinberg, who discovered the carbon paper while searching the archive, felt 'a jolt' when he realised what he had discovered amid 'a convoluted strangle of typewritten words.'

'I thought, "I might be the first person in 40 years to work with this document",' he said.

Together with Plath savant Gail Crowther, he deciphered the findings using Photoshop, which are watermarked with an image that might have appeared in a Plath poem – a woman gazing at her own reflection in a pool of water.

'I think the poems definitely can be classed as early,' said Steinberg. '[Because] no other copy appears to exist it might be surmised that they aren't very good. But in fact, the imagery in To a Refractory Santa Claus is beautiful. And there is a kind of loose, almost slangy-casual language in Megrims that took years for Plath to finesse in her Ariel voice in, for example, her poem The Applicant.'

Want to know more? You can buy the book now. Happy reading.

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