Burning the Archives

Burning the Archives

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad
They may not mean to, but they do”
—Philip Larkin, “This Be The Verse,”
High Windows

“Plath’s surprising strangeness,
the “good dangerousness” of her
ferocious linguistic confrontation
with the forbidden, is still with us”
—Anita Helle, The Unraveling
Archives: Essays on Sylvia Plath

All families—dysfunctional
Some families—are more fucked-up
Than others—especially literary ones

How many archives—up in flames?
Madame Verlaine—burns the letters
Between Arthur Rimbaud—and Paul

The same with—Mary Shelley
Lord Byron, Percy—and the boys
Go down the List—Burn! Burn! Burn!

Ted Hughes—burns Plath’s Notebooks
Burns letters, poems—a bonfire queen
Worse than—even Sylvia

Can there be poetry—after Sylvia Plath?
Can there be poetry—after Assia Wevill?
Can there be poetry—after Auschwitz?

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