Apparently, this was published several days ago, but since I haven’t been catching up on my news, I just read that Ted Hughes’ Last Letter to Sylvia Plath was just published for the first time. (Thank you, Sam, for the heads up!) I felt that I had to put it here because I am a fan of Sylvia Plath—to the point where I considered her one of my heroes during my angsty teenage years. The angst is long gone, but I have so much respect of Sylvia Plath’s writings—as if every word that she puts down is filled with so much raw emotion.
After her death in 1963, Ted Hughes was largely vilified, no thanks to his womanizing ways. In “Last Letter”, the world is provided with much insight about Sylvia Plath’s last days and how Ted Hughes dealt with his estranged wife’s last days, given the sense of immediacy present in this just-published poem. Hughes himself is a master at poetry, and reading through the “Last Letter”, he conveys the mix of emotions that were running through him from the time he received a note from Plath—intended, of course, to be read after her death. One can sense much confusion, fear, and yes, even a sense of guilt and regret.
It has been years since both Plath and Hughes have passed away, but their story as one of modern literature’s most tempestuous relationships and shocking tragedies lives on. And “Last Letter” proves to make that story even richer.
Image credits: The Ted Hughes Estate/The British Library Board