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A Poem About Assia

This poem, re-blogged from whatadriwrites.com/, purported to be written by Assia, expresses succintly the tragic life and death of Assia Gutmann Wevill. Entitled ‘Suicide Sestina’ it begins with a famous couplet by Sylvia Plath, followed by this cry of bitterness and unrequited love from Assia. — Read the poem here:  whatadriwrites.com/ ‘Suicide Sistina’ is a cry from the heart by Assia, who hid her considerable talent as poet, translator, and artist from the world that sneered at her, labelling her the Scarlet Woman, the Femme Fatale who broke the sacred union between Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. But was their marriage as sacred, blessed, and sublime as popular culture would have it? Few realise that Ted was emotionally and physically faithful to Sylvia for the six years of their marriage, according to Hughes’ own words in his poems and letters. He continued his fidelity to his first wife and the mother of his children long after her death. For the rest of his life, in spite of a second marriage, and numerous affairs, he swore allegiance to Sylvia’s memory. ‘Like the greylag goose’, he told one of his lovers, ‘I mate only once, and for life’.    Knowing this, Assia was haunted by Sylvia’s ghost coming between her and Ted for the seven tumultuous years of their relationship. Her suicide, which some describe as a ‘copycat’ of Sylvia’s. was her final rebuke to the man who had lusted after her, loved […]

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Darwin: the best-kept secret.

  The rains came down last night, a welcome relief from the humid Build-up. This season has its own beauties: Mangoes falling from trees, flowers bursting into colour, clouds swelling, tinged violet in the setting sun. Every season in the Top End has its distinct beauty: the clear blue skies and cool nights of the Dry, heralded in early May by […]

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Can we separate Art from Life?

‘To value a piece of work does not require us to applaud its creator.” (Ashleigh Wilson, On Artists, MUP, 2019) Or does it? Do we have to love the artist to love the work? Think of Pablo Picasso, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen. All can be judged as having questionable morals. If, like me, you’ve always enjoyed movies such as Allen’s […]

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Talking About Capriccio

AUTHOR TALK: Dina Davis with Susannah Fullerton. Review by Susan Beinart On 3 February 2019, Waverley Library Theatrette resounded with the voices of Dina Davis in conversation with Susannah Fullerton, at the Sydney launch of Dina’s début work, Capriccio: A Novel. This novel was inspired by the lives of Assia Wevill, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. This roman à clef covers the love-triangle that played out between these three poets, highlighting, for the first time, Wevill’s role in this fascinating tale. Fullerton, well known at Library events for her deep knowledge of Jane Austen and other historical writers, asked Davis probing questions about Capriccio: A Novel. Davis answered Fullerton’s questions with passion and honesty. The conversation flowed and the audience was riveted. We learned much about Capriccio: A Novel, including that Davis wrote it with commitment, partly because she felt passionate about the single-mother plight of Wevill, who had, apart from a biography, thus far escaped literary interest. No longer. This fine novel will surely provoke more interest in Wevill, who is known as ‘Esther’ in the book. Names of all the protagonists were changed at the request of the Hughes Estate. PAGE 2 Adapted from Friends of the Waverley Library Newsletter, SPRING 2019

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What’s in a Name?

‘What’s in a name? A rose by any name would smell as sweet.’(WIlliam Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 2) When I was born, several lifetimes it seems to me now, my scholarly grandfather gave me my name. ‘Dina’ he pronounced, ‘after one of our ancestors from the ancient town of Safed in Palestine, now Israel. Little did he know […]

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A Feast of Film

My year of movie-watching started with the little-known YAH (Young at Heart)  festival, followed by the fantastic Alliance Française French Film Festival. Here are some of my favourites: Catherine Deneuve features twice: in the magnificent new print of Buñuel’s 60’s masterpiece ‘Belle Du Jour’, first as the bored housewife Séverine who fulfils her erotic fantasies by secretly becoming a prostitute, […]

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