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Dr Hannah Roche, 'Plath, Hughes, and Amy Lowell: Intertextuality and Queer Invisibility'

Thursday 11 June 2020, 4.30PM

Chair: Dr Lola Boorman

In her 1922 poem ‘The Sisters’, Amy Lowell revives three women poets—Sappho, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Emily Dickinson—who ‘have not seemed strange to me, but near, / Frightfully near, and rather terrifying’. Three decades later, an eighteen-year-old Sylvia Plath would reflect on her own poetic proximity to the long-dead Lowell: ‘I am closest to Amy Lowell, in actuality, I think’. In an essay published in Modernist Cultures in 2018, Hannah Roche drew attention to textual similarities between Lowell’s ‘The Pike’ (1914), Ted Hughes’s ‘Pike’ (1959), and Plath’s ‘Mirror’ (1961). Reflecting on gendered poetics, queer invisibility, and the often troubling politics of intertextuality, Roche's new paper shows that Plath and Hughes were much closer to Lowell than her original essay suggested.

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BYO drinks and nibbles - we'll raise a glass to the end of an extraordinary term. 


Location: Online, by Zoom