Complicated with Old Ghosts: The Assia Poems
Assia Gutmann Wevill, the “other woman” in the Sylvia Plath/Ted Hughes story, has either been ignored, or treated disparagingly by Plath biographers. The criticism, in fact, tends to minimize the impact that Wevill had on Hughes’s life. What is well documented is that Assia’s suicide in 1969, along with the death of their small daughter, Shura, brought the Crow poems to a halt. The Crow sequence, published in 1970, was dedicated to the memory of Assia and Shura. And then relative silence, or so it seemed, until the publication of New Selected Poems 1957-1994 (1995), which included eight poems about Assia in the Uncollected section of the volume. What is generally not well known, however, is that an earlier location of the Assia poems is Capriccio, a twenty-poem sequence, published in a limited edition of 50 copies in the spring of 1990.