Calumniated from beyond the grave by Plath,
Anthony Hecht resented most, of all the insults that she hurled
at him untruthfully with posthumous resentful wrath,
the allegation that he had his hair professionally curled.
Colm Tóibín, reviewing The Selected Letters of Anthony Hecht edited by Jonathan Post in the LRB (“Places Never Explained, ” 8/8/13) writes:
Hecht remembered bad reviews and other slights and insults, and his letters are peppered with references to them. When his wife gave him the unabridged journals of Sylvia Plath for Christmas 2000 – he had taught with Plath at Smith College – he found that she had
a number of quite mean things to say about me … such as the claim that I have my hair ‘professionally curled’. She was really stark raving bonkers. She also claimed that I squirrelled away my Hudson Review Fellowship, wishing to hoard it at a time when both Sylvia and Ted were envious, and wished they could have a grant, and felt that I was keeping such funding from some other worthy poet. It’s especially galling to be calumniated from beyond the grave.
Jonathan Post’s comment to the poem, sent with the comment, “I thought this might amuse you”: