The Boston Globe reports on the Poet's Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.
Sylvia Plath, the much-decorated poet who ended her own life at age 30, is the tormented girl, and this is not the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey, where the bones of Geoffrey Chaucer, Robert Browning, and Rudyard Kipling lie a’moldering. This is the American Poets’ Corner at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City, which claims to be the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.
An Episcopal minister from Washington Irving’s hometown of Tarrytown, N.Y., launched the American Poets’ Corner in the 1980s because the real P.C. in London refused to induct the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.’’ Plath will be the 43d poet or writer to have a plaque at St. John. Previous honorees include Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, T.S. Eliot, and W.H. Auden, who taught Plath at Smith College. (He advised her to “watch out’’ for her verbs.)
Eliot and Auden are also in the real Poets’ Corner, where — speak, irony! — Plath’s husband, Ted Hughes, will be memorialized next year.
What is on the schedule for this weekend’s induction ceremony? Karen Kukil, the chief Plath archivist at Smith College, will read a brief paper. Tristine Skyler, who has written a screenplay of Plath’s fictionalized memoir “The Bell Jar,’’ will read a poem, as will Boston University’s Rosanna Warren and several other poets. Ned Rorem’s musical setting of Plath’s “Ariel’’ cycle, for soprano, clarinet, and piano, will also be performed.