By MICHAEL CAINES
Last Tuesday: at the Museum of London I hear Belinda Jack speak about the difficulties of releasing Sylvia Plath’s poetry from the straitjacket of biography and the critical limits posthumously imposed on it by others.
Wednesday: at the Poetry Café I hear Jeremy Noel-Tod point out, in the course of a wide-ranging conversation about modern British poetry and its discontents, that Plath was born in the same year as Geoffrey Hill. Imagine the Collected Poems of a Plath now in her eighties! That would make Ariel an early work. (I recall Professor Jack’s observation of the previous evening that it was Hughes who had labelled everything Plath wrote before she met him “juvenilia”.) What could a longer-lived Plath (not) have done? What would her influence be now?