Molly Shanahan | Contributing Writer | Thursday, 25 May 2017

Two Secret Sylvia Plath Poems Have Been Discovered

Two Secret Sylvia Plath Poems Have Been Discovered

The Debrief: The poems were found in the back of an old notebook after spending 50 years undiscovered

In an exciting literary find, academics researching a new book about The Bell Jar author have come across two previously unknown poems written by her. The poems are said to have been written on carbon paper and hidden in the back of one of her old notebooks. 

The man who found the work described feeling 'a jolt' when he realised what he had discovered amid 'a convoluted strangle of typewritten words' adding 'I thought, I might be the first person in 40 years to work with this document'. He then managed to decipher the words using Photoshop, however, the researchers think there may even be a third poem hidden within the papers. 

 The poems, which have remained undiscovered for 50 years, and were found alongside unseen photos, are entitled ‘To a Refractory Santa Claus’ and ‘Megrims’. The first is about Spain, fresh fruit and sunshine and was written after her honeymoon to Benidorm. The second is written from the perspective of a paranoid patient speaking to a doctor about a series of 'irregular incidents'. 

Sylvia Plath is most famous for both her novel The Bell Jar which tells the story of a young woman battling with her mental health problems and her posthumously published collection of poetry, Ariel. Plath was married to fellow poet Ted Hughes, by whom the academics also managed to discover some unseen work. These poems discussed his turmoil after his wife’s death, including his pain at her isolation in her final hours, and were intended for his final collection, Birthday Letters, detailing his turbulent relationship with Plath. 

Much of Plath’s work documents her long-standing struggles with mental health problems, and after her suicide in 1963, academics and readers alike have been mesmerised by finding out more about the talented and elusive writer. 

I think I can guess your next question, can I read them? Well yes, kind of, very soon…the two academics have revealed all of their discoveries in a new book These Ghostly Archives which is set for release here this week. Plus, if this news has got you all of a fluster then you’re in luck, a film adaptation of The Bell Jar directed by Kirsten Dunst is set for release in 2018, while a collection of her letters is due to be published later this year. Looks like Plath’s the gift that keeps on giving in 2017. 

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Tags: books