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Parallel Lives


Heather Clark
Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath,

Heather Clark earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Harvard University and her doctorate in English from Oxford University. Her awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Fellowship; a Leon Levy Biography Fellowship at the City University of New York; and a Visiting U.S. Fellowship at the Eccles Centre for American Studies, British Library. A former Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing, she is the author of The Grief of Influence: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, The Ulster Renaissance: Poetry in Belfast 1962-1972 and Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award. She divides her time between Chappaqua, New York, and Yorkshire, England, where she is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at the University of Huddersfield.


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Maggie Doherty
The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s

Maggie Doherty teaches writing at Harvard, where she earned her PhD in English. She is the author of The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and the Nation, among other publications. She lives in Cambridge.

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In 1950s America, women were not supposed to be ambitious. In fact, women were respected for not pursuing their own careers and instead focusing their attentions on the home and family. Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton were born into this cultural moment and reached their formative years when this ideology of the dutiful woman was at its height. But if in 1950s America women of a certain class were supposed to sacrifice their own careers for those of their husbands, Plath and Sexton were having none of it. Join us to learn about the lives and art of these two legendary poets.

Heather Clark’s book is Red Comet: The Short and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath and Maggie Doherty’s book is The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the1960’s.

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