Orbis #187 – ooh, la, la, it’s Sylvia Plath!

Orbis (issue 187)It’s a real treat to be in Orbis again. I love how editor Carole Baldock creates a sense of community through opportunities for feedback (a Readers’ Award – with cash prizes and a Reader’s Response on a topic of choice). Whether you’re a poet or a subscriber (or both) you’re instantly part of the conversation.

This latest issue contains poetry by Faye Boland, Claire Booker, Patricia Brody, Laura Chalar, Philip Dunkerley, Victoria Gatehouse, David Lukens, Jenna Plewes, Sue Spiers, Paul Stephenson, Jules Whiting and Rodney Wood among many others, together with a generous feature spot of work by Denise McSheeny.

There’s also a fascinating article by Paul Stephenson on comedic effect in the poetry of Sylvia Plath. Mission impossible, surely? Yet he offers a robust set of arguments, starting with a quote from South African poet Finuala Dowling: “It’s not a fashionable thing to say in an age of gravitas, but I believe that wit is the quintessential poetic craft. The truly witty poet . . . feels life’s pain, but anaesthetises it temporarily with irony, absurdity or sheer bravado.”

Paul highlights specific poems to show that “Plath’s humour comes precisely from the tragi-comic. That is to say, the tragi-comedy of the individual in her self-absorbed and confessional plight – for love and life.

“Plath is a satirical chronicler of her adopted country. We watch [her] deal the blows, the sharp-tongued wit in the verbal bullying and lexical assaults on those who inflict pain on her: father; husband; community; society at large. Comedy lies in the futility of her painful posturing.”

This issue also contains book reviews, competition alerts, prose by Charlotte Gringrass, Denise McSheehy and Jenna Plewes, and a Reader’s Response on gender equality in literature.

To buy a copy of Oribis (issue 187) or to submit your own work, check out the website at this link: Orbis

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