Pablo Picasso is of course primarily remembered as a visual artist, but he was also a poet, and William Blake was as much artist, painter, printmaker and illustrator as writer—we’re sure that you, dear readers, can easily add names to the list of poets who make art and artists who make poems. Here’s another: Sylvia Plath.
Plath’s work in the visual arts has recently been much in the public eye. In 2007, Oxford University Press came out with Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath’s Art of the Visual, in which editors Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley show us many of her drawings and paintings and set them in the context of her writings (). Then in 2011, a selection of 44 pen-and-ink drawings, never before shown, were exhibited at the Mayor Gallery in London, and both The Telegraph and Flavorwire posted galleries of images from that exhibition that are still available online. The newest splash of Plath’s art into public view is the portfolio of drawings from the early years of her marriage to Ted Hughes, just released by her daughter Frieda Hughes and accompanied by selections from her letters and diary entries of the time (). The drawings are lovely, precise and hard-edged, very like the crystalline poems in Ariel.
More on Sylvia Plath:
Our biographical profile of Plath, with links to buy her books
Thinking About Sylvia Plath as the Winter Darkness Comes On (November 2012)
Ted Hughes’ “Last Letter” to Sylvia Plath (October 2010)
Shrines to Ted and Sylvia (September 2010)
Sylvia Plath Speaks in Her Own Voice (April 2010)
A Star Chart for Sylvia Plath’s Birthday (November 2008)