Pamela Sidney: Reading “Last Letter”

Pamela Sidney last week in Melbourne, Australia read aloud Ted Hughes’s recently discovered poem about Sylvia Plath’s suicide.  She kindly sent us an email about the occasion, below:

I found the poem a dense one, complex when considering the relationships mentioned.

But soon sorted it out by referring to ’18 Rugby Street’ in particular, which was a great help.

I speak as one who has now read the poem in public – with the help of a male poet – Patrick Boyle – who read alternate pages 2 & 4.

Not having a lot of time to familiarise myself with the poem, I found it a hard read, in that it is emotionally dense.

In performing it I opted for a straightforward voice – keeping in mind Hughes and his down to earth manner.

I was surprised that all the poets in the room, some 40 plus, were unaware of the existence of the poem, and of course the time span of 30 years that it took to surface.

The audience clapped the reading warmly, but at the same time I could sense a silence, their minds still with the poem and its very stark ending.

I suspect many will want to get their own copy, for a first reading/ hearing it is almost impossible to take in the chaos and complexity of the situation as it was running through the mind of Ted Hughes – plus how he was processing his emotions and memories.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *