Historic Reading of Sylvia Plath's Ariel, Featuring Her Daughter, Frieda Hughes

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Oct 27 2004

New York--October 27, 2004. For the first time in America, the manuscript of Ariel that Sylvia Plath left behind when she died in 1963 will be read publicly from beginning to end. Co-presented by the Academy of American Poets, Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center CUNY, HarperCollins, and the Poetry Society of America, the reading will take place on Tuesday, November 30, at 7:30 P.M, Proshansky Auditorium, New York City.

Plath's daughter, Frieda Hughes, will introduce a stellar roster of poets and critics who will read, including Frank Bidart, Jorie Graham, Kimiko Hahn, Richard Howard, Katha Pollitt, and Helen Vendler.

The reading will celebrate the publication of Ariel: The Restored Edition (HarperCollins, November 9, 2004), which publishes the poems according to Plath's original selection and arrangement. The Ariel that was published in Britain in 1965 and in America in 1966 was arranged by Plath's late husband, the poet Ted Hughes.

"My mother had described her Ariel manuscript as beginning with the word 'Love' and ending with the word 'Spring,' and it was clearly geared to cover the ground from just before the breakup of the marriage to the resolution of a new life, with all the agonies and furies in between," Hughes writes in her foreword to the new edition of her mother's most acclaimed collection.

Readers of Plath will be able to hear for the first time the exact sequence and movement of the Ariel poems, including not only the well-known "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus" but also the twelve poems that have been restored such as "Thalidomide," "Barren Woman," and "Amnesiac." Witness the incredible legacy of a poet described by John Updike as "a young woman who . . .rose from the dead to become, in ten driven years, the best, the most exciting and influential, the most ruthlessly original poet of her generation."

Tickets are available at the door the evening of the reading. General Admission is $10; $7 for members of the Academy of American Poets and Poetry Society of America; and $5 for students.

Proshansky Auditorium
Concourse Level, The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th streets)

The Academy of American Poets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1934 to foster appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. For more information on the Academy and its programs, visit www.poets.org.