I don't know if anyone else ever read the Sylvia Plath Forum. It was probably the best forum I've ever found for ongoing, intelligent (with the odd stupid post) discussion. It was always relatively 'polite' apart perhaps from a recent post from some chick called Morney laying into poor old David Hall...nothing to do with me guv! I disagree with much of it, but it is a goldmine of information. Really, anyone who's 'anyone' in terms of knowing anything about SP posts there - biographers, 'normal' people (ha...such as myself), friends of Sp's, friends of the family - it's the perfect place to ask a question that you can't find the answer to anywhere else. Someone there will always find out in the end. I read it for several months before I contributed to it, being somewhat intimidated at first, I suppose, by the names I saw there, but it's part of my life now. I've met many interesting people - friends of Sp's family, other interesting people, a woman who is writing her PhD on SP and is 'using' me as her main research subject and not least of all, Elaine Connell, who began the Forum way back in 1998 when 'Birthday Letters' was published. We were good email friends for a while. Anyway, the reason I mention it is that I think it should be mentioned here that Elaine died of cancer a few weeks ago. I was asked to read some of Sp's poems and talk about her life at a Plath/Hughes evening earlier this year in Heptonstall and this was mainly because Elaine was very ill. It was a great shock when she died. She created something wonderful in the Forum, and as yet, everyone wants to keep it going, partly in her memory and because it took on such a real life of its own.
There is a very lovely tribute page to her here with the memories and tributes of most of the forum contributors and a link to a blog she kept for the last year of her life... which isn't pleasant reading and probably doesn't mean an awful lot unless you knew her. Her book 'Killing The Angel In The House' about SP is well worth reading, especially for the chapter she has which covers all the other biographies and the various biases.
I was gonna upload these in order, but wanted to put these 2 together because 'Point Shirley' is the last one from the first recording session, which was in 1958, from 'Ariel' onwards, the recording is from October 1962 and the change in the way she reads is quite striking, although perhaps more so when the whole tape's being listened to.
* 'Point Shirley'