Unpublished Sylvia Plath Poem Appears In Blackbird

"Ennui," a previously unpublished poem by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Sylvia Plath, will appear Nov. 1 in Blackbird: an online journal of literature and the arts.

Blackbird, which can be found at, is published through a partnership between Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of English and New Virginia Review, Inc. It has earned a reputation as one of the nation's leading online literary journals.

Anna Journey, contributing editor of Blackbird and a student in the MFA in Creative Writing program at VCU, discovered the unpublished status of "Ennui" during research in the archives at Indiana University's Lilly Library. Journey, a published poet, is the author of a forthcoming scholarly article on "Ennui."

Plath wrote "Ennui," a sonnet, while an undergraduate at Smith College and may have originally intended to publish the poem. Plath published a number of poems during this period and set a rigorous writing schedule for herself. She is perhaps best known for her collection of poems, "Ariel," published posthumously after her suicide in 1963.

"It is difficult to realize how hard Plath worked to perfect her craft unless you read the poems written before 1956," said Karen V. Kukil, editor of The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. "Many of these poems, like 'Ennui,' deserve publication."

Blackbird will photographically reproduce the original typed manuscripts of "Ennui," which reveals the important and enduring influence of F. Scott Fitzgerald on Plath's writing. "Ennui" was Plath's creative response to Fitzgerald's novels "The Great Gatsby" and "Tender is the Night." Echoes of those works appear in poems throughout Plath's life, including such a well-known later work as "Daddy."

Blackbird has received recognition for both its technical elegance and the quality of its content in new fiction, poetry, nonfiction, plays and visual arts. A Library Journal article in 2004 cited Blackbird as "one of the most successful, well-assembled online literary magazines available … it is graphically attractive and has attracted writers of stature such as Norman Dubie, Reginald Shepherd and Gerald Stern." Blackbird editors are Gregory Donovan of VCU and Mary Flinn of New Virginia Review, Inc., a nonprofit literary organization based in Richmond, Virginia.

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Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see