Voices

You will look in vain for an ode to broccoli. And that is because broccoli is rubbish

Faulty Sibyl

Marion Shaw finds Germaine Greer's condemnation of women poets `seriously flawed' in argument and detail; Slip-shod Sibyls: Recognition, Rejection and the Woman Poet by Germaine Greer Viking, pounds 20

BOOKS: WHY DID SAPPHO LEAP?

Outspoken as ever, Germaine Greer has some controversial views on women's poetry

The Independent/Penguin Summer Quiz

Below are the answers to last month's Penguin Books 60th birthday quiz which appeared in the Independent on 29 July. The winner, who will receive an Isokon Penguin Donkey magazine-cum-bookrack, is A. McLeod from Penzance, Cornwall. The four runners-up, who receive boxed sets of Penguin Collected Short Stories will be notified directly. Thanks to all who took part.

A birthday encounter

Together at last: Princess Margaret, who will be 65 on Monday, and the Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes, who came of pensionable age last Thursday. Miles Kington chanced upon them at the Palace

The directors: 6; Phyllida Lloyd

A weekly guide to British theatre's big players

Books: EDINBURGH

The Edinburgh Book Festival programme landed on our desk last week, and a handsome thing it is too, with tons of author photos and a cheery cartoon cover. Some of the pix backfire rather; Claire Tomalin looks as tousled and Byronic as you'd expect of a Romantic biographer, but for every toothsome portrait of a smouldering scribbler there are at least two plain puddings. Some of the children's writers are especially scary. Of Debi Gliori they say: "This promises to be a memorable meeting for young readers" - not least because of the author/ illustrator's truly frightening eyebrows. Philip Ridley is another chap one would hesitate to leave one's tinies with: not only is he sporting a hat two sizes too small for his moonish face, but he's also wearing a decidedly suspect velour top with drawstring neck.

BOOKS; WOMAN FOR ALL SEASONS

Best known for her novels, Margaret Atwood has written poetry since the age of 16. Here she talks about that most exacting medium, and the legacy of women poets.

Young and hyped in America

Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation, has been described as Sylvia Plath with the ego of Madonna. Neglected, misunderstood, unlucky

THE GOOD, THE GREAT & THE UGLY No. 99 Ted Hughes

What exactly is new about the new Ted Hughes Selected Poems?

Marriage is hell

The Prince and Princess of Wales, OJ and Nicole Simpson, the Mellors, t he Cobhams, the Parker-Bowleses - to be wedded in the Nineties is not necessarily bliss. No r, as the historian FLORA FRASER discovered in the letters and journals of past spouses, has it eve r been

BOOKS / Recommended

Under my Skin by Doris Lessing, HarperCollins, pounds 20. Stirring and very impressive memoirs by the eminent novelist, which move through the spirit of the age. Interview by Natasha Walter, 15 October.

BOOK REVIEW / In the biographer's laboratory: 'The Silent Woman' - Janet Malcolm: Picador, 14.99 pounds

TOWARDS the end of The Silent Woman: Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, Janet Malcolm describes the mood in which we habitually read biography as one of 'bovine equanimity'. One thing that can be said about her intensely compelling, intensely uncomfortable book is that she makes damn sure we can't read it in this complacent state of mind.

Books: An uncollected poem by Sylvia Plath

By the early summer of 1957, just before she took her Tripos exams at Cambridge, Plath had become a fairly regular contributor of poems and stories to Granta, as well as being published in various American periodicals. It was a happy time in her life; her letters home are full of optimism and excitement at the literary success both she and Ted Hughes were enjoying. This poem, one of several she wrote at the time, appeared in Granta at the request of Michael Frayn, but has apparently never been reprinted.

Books: Everything but the truth - While Sylvia Plath's poetic fame grows and grows, a new book shows how her life story is 'trapped for ever at the terrible raw moment of her suicide'

SOMETHING like 20 years ago, I was invited by Faber & Faber to consider writing a biography of Sylvia Plath. My response was cautious, but the idea interested me. I had published one biography of a great woman, Mary Wollstonecraft, whose story mixed personal tragedy with high achievement; and Plath was another such, a true and extraordinary poet who had also gone to a terrible death.

Schools' modern book list cut to 12 authors

A NEW book list of 20th-century writers containing only 12 authors - all British and all male except one - has been recommended by government advisers for use in schools from next autumn.
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