Happy Bloomsday!

Years ago, I sat in the archives of The New York Public Library and drew a picture of Vladimir Nabokov’s copy of ULYSSES. When they brought it out to me it had so much life to it, it seemed to glow. Every single page was heavily annotated and marked up in mostly red pen that the book was soft like a pillow. As you can see, Nabokov had even written the date of Bloomsday on the cover in pencil. It was a wonderful object to spend time with and to look at. It was a wonderful object to draw.

Happy Bloomsday!

Sylvia Plath’s copy of Four Quartets

SP For Quartets color

A year ago I sat in the New York Public Library’s special collections room drawing the books that belonged to famous authors. This was among them–Sylvia Plath’s copy of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets.  It was given to her by her then boyfriend Dick Norton (known as “Buddy Willard” in The Bell Jar).  It is heavily underlined and annotated in black fountain pen ink.  Also, folded and tucked in the back was an article torn out of the sunday New York Times Magazine on a play by Eliot being produced in New York, also underlined in places.  (I could do a whole book on the things that fall out of people’s books.)  To hold books once owned by someone long gone is to hold something intimate and personal to them.  In the case of Plath’s copy of Four Quartets it is to hold a relic of both a relationship and of her apprenticeship as a poet.  It was a pleasure to look at and utterly sublime to draw.