Heather Clark earned her bachelor's degree in English Literature from Harvard University and her doctorate in English from Oxford University. She is the author of two award-winning books on post-war poetry, The Grief of Influence- Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes and The Ulster Renaissance- Poetry in Belfast 1962-1972. She divides her time between Chappaqua, New York, and Yorkshire, England, where she is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at the University of Huddersfield.
Red Comet is the kind of serious literary biography Plath has long deserved but, until now, not received. By drawing on an enormous body of research...Clark assembles a fuller and more complicated picture of Plath than any biographer... Clark succeeds in capturing Sylvia Plath. -- Anna Leszkiewicz * New Statesman * Red Comet contains a vital ingredient that wasn't available to previous Plath biographers: access to her surviving letters... Nor does she reduce this complex tragic story to a simple tale of good versus evil. -- JP O'Malley * Irish Independent * With Red Comet Heather Clark has produced a superb biography, scholarly, acutely perceptive and beautifully written. She shows a profound understanding not only of Plath and her work, but also of the worlds she inhabited on both sides of the Atlantic. This is without doubt one of the most remarkable biographies of the present era. -- Selina Hastings, author of The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham An exciting contribution not only to Plath studies but to biography, poetics, cultural history, and feminist history and theory, Red Comet is an extraordinary book. Clark animates Plath anew, both through the very dailiness of her life - rendered gripping and engrossing - and through the brilliant situating of Plath (and her stormy marriage to Ted Hughes) in the larger, indelibly evoked Anglo-American poetic context. Clark delivers a brilliant scholarly exegesis in vivid prose that renders Plath's life into art. This is the major biography of this major poet that we have long awaited. -- Mary V. Dearborn, author of Ernest Hemingway: A Biography [Sylvia Plath] as she really was, with and without Ted Hughes. -- Claire Lowdon * Sunday Times * Finally, the biography that Sylvia Plath deserves, one that takes her seriously as both a poet and a person. Combining rigorous research with in-depth literary analysis and immersive style, Heather Clark's magisterial book not only traces Plath's influences and inspirations, but also chronicles her often-tumultuous relationships with respect and empathy. A spectacular achievement. -- Ruth Franklin, author of Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life Clark's defining project, both a joyful affirmation for Plath fanatics and a legitimization of her legacy... Clark masterfully analyses the poetry with intelligent incorporation of the biography... In this mammoth biography of a short, troubled life, the deepest impression is of [Plath's] resilience and dogged energy. -- Jessica Ferri * Los Angeles Times * At last, there is Red Comet, a major biography that recognises Sylvia Plath...and recovers her from cliche. It is a superbly researched, fluent and assured book...and Heather Clark writes with a rare empathy and understanding of her subject... Not one sentence seems extraneous... Red Comet reveals Plath as she ought to be seen. -- Ann Kennedy Smith * Times Literary Supplement * Rescuing Sylvia Plath from the cult of her fans...[Red Comet,] a terrific, even-handed biography of Plath frees the poet from the narrow view of her as 'a mind on course for suicide'... Heather Clark's meticulous research, sweeping up every scrap, deftly integrates drafts, unpublished pieces, stories and critiques of poems...to make this extraordinary story more moving than ever. -- Lyndall Gordon * Daily Telegraph * A first-class biography... Red Comet is a mighty achievement. Clark is compassionate, clear-eyed, sceptical. Each chapter reads with the ease of a novel... I couldn't put it down. -- Laura Freeman * The Times *