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The Collected Poems

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The aim of the present complete edition, which contains a numbered sequence of the 224 poems written after 1956 together with a further 50 poems chosen from her pre-1956 work, is to bring Sylvia Plath's poetry together in one volume, including the various uncollected and unpublished pieces, and to set everything in as true a chronological order as is possible, so that the The aim of the present complete edition, which contains a numbered sequence of the 224 poems written after 1956 together with a further 50 poems chosen from her pre-1956 work, is to bring Sylvia Plath's poetry together in one volume, including the various uncollected and unpublished pieces, and to set everything in as true a chronological order as is possible, so that the whole progress and achievement of this unusual poet will become accessible to readers.


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The aim of the present complete edition, which contains a numbered sequence of the 224 poems written after 1956 together with a further 50 poems chosen from her pre-1956 work, is to bring Sylvia Plath's poetry together in one volume, including the various uncollected and unpublished pieces, and to set everything in as true a chronological order as is possible, so that the The aim of the present complete edition, which contains a numbered sequence of the 224 poems written after 1956 together with a further 50 poems chosen from her pre-1956 work, is to bring Sylvia Plath's poetry together in one volume, including the various uncollected and unpublished pieces, and to set everything in as true a chronological order as is possible, so that the whole progress and achievement of this unusual poet will become accessible to readers.

30 review for The Collected Poems

  1. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    “Out of the ash I rise with my red hair and I eat men like air.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Astute, ironic, and intense, Plath's poems brood over a wide range of topics, through language that's cutting in its precision. The poet's sharp intellect consistently is interesting, but her early collections read as less forceful and breathtaking than her later ones; with age, Plath moved away from the stiff but accomplished formalism of her early poetry toward a risk-taking aesthetic of the theatrical. Had she had the chance to develop that style, she likely would have fulfilled her early pro Astute, ironic, and intense, Plath's poems brood over a wide range of topics, through language that's cutting in its precision. The poet's sharp intellect consistently is interesting, but her early collections read as less forceful and breathtaking than her later ones; with age, Plath moved away from the stiff but accomplished formalism of her early poetry toward a risk-taking aesthetic of the theatrical. Had she had the chance to develop that style, she likely would have fulfilled her early promise and published several daring volumes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    jack

    i keep coming back to plath as a source of inspiration for my own writing or alternately as a reason to never try to write anything again. because, people, she is one of the best. arguably one of the top five american poets of all time. the only downer of this book is that ted hughes edited it, and he was the piece of shit she killed herself over. so if you want to read the ariel poems in their correct, initially intended order check out the notes in the back for that. why that asshole thought h i keep coming back to plath as a source of inspiration for my own writing or alternately as a reason to never try to write anything again. because, people, she is one of the best. arguably one of the top five american poets of all time. the only downer of this book is that ted hughes edited it, and he was the piece of shit she killed herself over. so if you want to read the ariel poems in their correct, initially intended order check out the notes in the back for that. why that asshole thought he could or should re-organize her order after she died is beyond me. maybe it had something to do with that fact that he and his worthless writing is only famous for the assosciation with her. just saying, is all.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pewterbreath

    Whoo-boy, nobody has given me more trouble than Sylvia Plath. Only Byron may be as difficult in seperating the personality from the work, and with him we at least have a good bit of time since the works were actually written. I half-wonder if anybody can really be objective about her work. See, she has a group of followers who just about worship her to the point of Tori Amos's fans, where everything she's done is meaningful and perfect. Her suicide date is celebrated. Every word she wrote is put Whoo-boy, nobody has given me more trouble than Sylvia Plath. Only Byron may be as difficult in seperating the personality from the work, and with him we at least have a good bit of time since the works were actually written. I half-wonder if anybody can really be objective about her work. See, she has a group of followers who just about worship her to the point of Tori Amos's fans, where everything she's done is meaningful and perfect. Her suicide date is celebrated. Every word she wrote is put through the lens of her suicide. (Hemingway commited suicide too, but if I recall correctly people celebrate his LIFE and not his death.) And don't even get me started on all those who read Plath and practically no other poetry. Sounds like I don't like her much, eh? Actually I have no problems with her--just her fans I find irritating. Her work is good, and not about suicide (or sad things) at all. "Daddy" good as it is, isn't even close to her best work (though it may be the most quintessential). The best way to read her, IMHO is to pretend you know nothing of the women and get over the obsession with tacking every poem to her biography. Poems are meant to be free. If you want her life story read her diary.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ramblin' Man

    Sylvia Plath was super gangsta. She stuck her head in an oven and killed herself. Besides that, she wrote some pretty dope poetry and was super fresh.... (I apologize for writing in outdated youthful urban slang, but I was bored and thought it might "spice up" these less-than-mediocre reviews. I can see now, after closer examination, this was a terrible decision... Once again, I apologize for the inconvenience). Also.... reading Plath's poems extremely intoxicated on alcoholic beverages can be a Sylvia Plath was super gangsta. She stuck her head in an oven and killed herself. Besides that, she wrote some pretty dope poetry and was super fresh.... (I apologize for writing in outdated youthful urban slang, but I was bored and thought it might "spice up" these less-than-mediocre reviews. I can see now, after closer examination, this was a terrible decision... Once again, I apologize for the inconvenience). Also.... reading Plath's poems extremely intoxicated on alcoholic beverages can be a rewarding and exciting adventure... However!!...... I strongly advise you DO NOT stick your head in an oven during this drunken escapade to replicate how the author might have felt before her last seconds on earth expired...This could end in truly deadly results or, even worse, a failed attempt to make a joke out of this shameful incident at future family gatherings or while hanging out with friends. This will only lead to ridicule and the epiphany that close family and friends have not been laughing with you all those years, but at you.... Finally, I mostly read this book because I was accused of being misogynistic due to the lack of women authors I have read. I hope I have proven to you all that I am not misogynistic and do, in fact, like women. After reading Sylvia Plath (a woman), I hope you all think I am not misogynistic anymore... However, I still believe women have smaller brains and belong in the kitchen... I don't know, after sobering up, her words are a bit clamoured together and read densely. I CAN'T DO IT! I am sorry world, but there is not enough booze for me to get through it. I shamefully throw in the towel, its just too dense...I guess I really do hate women after all...sorry. Life is too short to torture yourself and drudge through this...Plath taught us that! Super dope quotes: "We mask our past in the green of eden, pretend future's shining fruit can sprout from the navel of this present waste." "Horizontal lines are like dusk...everyone breathing the same." Also the poems "Pursuit" and "Tale of a Tub" are pretty great.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Glitterbomb

    I keep coming back to Sylvia Plath whenever I'm trying to make sense of my own troubles. Since my troubles rarely make sense, that means I come back to this quite often. Which is so incredibly cliched, it would normally make me cringe. I mean, its screams "I'm a damaged girl, and I read Sylvia Plath, just like all the other damaged girls!" But I don't cringe, because ultimately, her poetry makes me feel. I have this incredibly old, earmarked and tattered edition that is full of notes in the margin I keep coming back to Sylvia Plath whenever I'm trying to make sense of my own troubles. Since my troubles rarely make sense, that means I come back to this quite often. Which is so incredibly cliched, it would normally make me cringe. I mean, its screams "I'm a damaged girl, and I read Sylvia Plath, just like all the other damaged girls!" But I don't cringe, because ultimately, her poetry makes me feel. I have this incredibly old, earmarked and tattered edition that is full of notes in the margins, words underlined and phrases highlighted. Scraps of paper with my thoughts tucked between the pages. Its the only book I have ever taken a pencil to and its incredibly private. It doesn't live on my bookshelves with the rest of my collection. And its the only book I don't lend out the friends and family. I'm selfish with it. Each time I pick it up, I flick to a random page, and take it all in again afresh. Each reading means something different to me, or I see something a different way. For how angry, destructive and wrenching these poems are they also set the reader free, and that's why I keep coming back to them.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Esther

    My psychiatrist laughed when I said I read Sylvia Plath, "why do all you young women" etc. I do think part of it is that Sylvia becomes a friend if you go through some of the same stuff she did. Any famous person who shares your condition does. But to say that's all she's good for, as if there's no merit or instruction in her work... And then, once again, it's back to the emotional Plath -- phrases that crush your head both because they are so well wrought and also because you know exactly what s My psychiatrist laughed when I said I read Sylvia Plath, "why do all you young women" etc. I do think part of it is that Sylvia becomes a friend if you go through some of the same stuff she did. Any famous person who shares your condition does. But to say that's all she's good for, as if there's no merit or instruction in her work... And then, once again, it's back to the emotional Plath -- phrases that crush your head both because they are so well wrought and also because you know exactly what she was talking about. I've spent a dozen years reading this book and I've learned that Plath and I may cross over emotionally, but our poetic jaws are not the same. I don't always understand how her construction works. Part of why I keep reading. Having her all together like this, including juvenilia, is a lesson, especially as her life was so short. I've sought several other complete works since stumbling across this one.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erin Dunn

    http://angelerin.blogspot.com/2016/03... I really enjoyed reading Sylvia Plath's poetry. Ever since I read The Bell Jar (and then googled Sylvia and learned more about her) I have been fascinated by her life and her work. I also loved her book of unabridged journals. So when I saw there was a book of her poetry I just had to buy it and read it. Sylvia Plath's writing is just so addicting. Everything flows beautifully and I just loved so many of these poems. I had such a great time reading this boo http://angelerin.blogspot.com/2016/03... I really enjoyed reading Sylvia Plath's poetry. Ever since I read The Bell Jar (and then googled Sylvia and learned more about her) I have been fascinated by her life and her work. I also loved her book of unabridged journals. So when I saw there was a book of her poetry I just had to buy it and read it. Sylvia Plath's writing is just so addicting. Everything flows beautifully and I just loved so many of these poems. I had such a great time reading this book while I was out relaxing in a cabin in the woods. I still wish I was there on vacation reading this book of poetry. These poems are just so emotional and honest. They speak to me as a woman. There is just something about Sylvia Plath's writing that I connect with at the very core of myself. I'm sure some psychiatrist would have a field day with that, but there it is. Overall I thought The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath was a great book of poetry that I would recommend to all Sylvia Plath fans, even if you aren't a poetry fan.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I had this exact edition and carried this book with me all the time. My favorite poem is below in it is below: I Am Vertical By Sylvia Plath But I would rather be horizontal. I am not a tree with my root in the soil Sucking up minerals and motherly love So that each March I may gleam into leaf, Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted, Unknowing I must soon unpetal. Compared with me, a tree is immortal And a flower-head not tall, but more startling, And I I had this exact edition and carried this book with me all the time. My favorite poem is below in it is below: I Am Vertical By Sylvia Plath But I would rather be horizontal. I am not a tree with my root in the soil Sucking up minerals and motherly love So that each March I may gleam into leaf, Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted, Unknowing I must soon unpetal. Compared with me, a tree is immortal And a flower-head not tall, but more startling, And I want the one's longevity and the other's daring. Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars, The trees and the flowers have been strewing their cool odors. I walk among them, but none of them are noticing. Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping I must most perfectly resemble them -- Thoughts gone dim. It is more natural to me, lying down. Then the sky and I are in open conversation, And I shall be useful when I lie down finally: Then the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ruxandra (4fără15)

    It was really interesting to read so many of Sylvia’s poems chronologically, and too see her find a voice of her own over the years. While I have to say that most of the poems she wrote before 1959 either bored or puzzled me, as she used very complicated syntax and overembellished them – which resulted in nothing more than a collection of vague and highly impersonal lines –, it was well worth reading this volume for what followed. I mean, here’s her last poem: The woman is perfected. Her dead Body It was really interesting to read so many of Sylvia’s poems chronologically, and too see her find a voice of her own over the years. While I have to say that most of the poems she wrote before 1959 either bored or puzzled me, as she used very complicated syntax and overembellished them – which resulted in nothing more than a collection of vague and highly impersonal lines –, it was well worth reading this volume for what followed. I mean, here’s her last poem: The woman is perfected. Her dead Body wears the smile of accomplishment, The illusion of a Greek necessity Flows in the scrolls of her toga, Her bare Feet seem to be saying: We have come so far, it is over. Each dead child coiled, a white serpent, One at each little Pitcher of milk, now empty. She has folded Then back into her body as petals Of a rose close when the garden Stiffens and doors bleed From the street, deep throats of the night flower. The moon has nothing to be sad about, Starting from her hood of bone. She is used to this sort of thing. Her blacks crackle and drag. (Edge, 5 February 1963) absolutely chilling.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Büşra

    It really does not get much better than Sylvia Plath.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    So it turns out "The Collected Poems" means literally everything Sylvia Plath EVER wrote. It's arranged more or less chronologically, and when I was about halfway through the book I was all set to only give it three stars. At 2/3 of the way through, it had gone up to four stars, and by the last 20-30 pages there was no way it was getting anything less than five. Although her earlier poems aren't to my particular taste, and you can tell her command of the craft is still developing, it's so wonder So it turns out "The Collected Poems" means literally everything Sylvia Plath EVER wrote. It's arranged more or less chronologically, and when I was about halfway through the book I was all set to only give it three stars. At 2/3 of the way through, it had gone up to four stars, and by the last 20-30 pages there was no way it was getting anything less than five. Although her earlier poems aren't to my particular taste, and you can tell her command of the craft is still developing, it's so wonderful to be able to trace that evolution from obviously talented novice to absolute master. Moving, evocative and completely unforgettable.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Allan

    First: my rating applies to the edition, not the poetry. After hacking away at this collected poems for the better part of six months, I'm not sure I have any interest in rating the poems. I think, in part, this is due to a certain experience I had in reading, as if this were a history book or a chronicle rather than a work of literature. Of course, while that reveals something (unsavory?) of my predisposition as a reader, I think it at leaves gives a hint as to how the work struck me. Whereas the First: my rating applies to the edition, not the poetry. After hacking away at this collected poems for the better part of six months, I'm not sure I have any interest in rating the poems. I think, in part, this is due to a certain experience I had in reading, as if this were a history book or a chronicle rather than a work of literature. Of course, while that reveals something (unsavory?) of my predisposition as a reader, I think it at leaves gives a hint as to how the work struck me. Whereas the work of other poets of Plath's era, and certainly before, can still touch me in the current moment, as living documents, the majority of this volume felt artifactual, archeological. That is not to say there are not poems that have and continue to hit me in the solar plexus like a sledge — "The Rabbit Catcher," for instance, will likely be a treasured poem for as long as I have a relationship with language. But aside from these highlights, I often had the sensation of reading through an excavation. In my mind, there is no question of Plath's talent; at moments it terrifies me ("There is no mercy in the glitter of cleavers, / The butcher's guillotine that whispers: 'How's this, how's this?'" — "Totem"). Furthermore, I think there is an abundance to be learned from her that is completely separate from her hypertragic biography. But the biography does haunt her collected poems; it butts its forehead into the reading experience and dulls the ear with its wailing. Certain Plath devotees are liable to put a reader off with their fetishization of her horrible life story; I have been put off in the past. Working past such acolytes, I still sensed their demands in editing of this collected poems. What am I getting at? What is needed? A new edition of selected poems. Faber has presented, in this volume, an excellent resource for scholars & collectors. But the truth is that practicing poets, interested outsiders, and casual newcomers have no need for most of what this book offers. We don't need or want the juvenilia that closes the book. Most of the end notes gloss Plath's weird ideas of what the poems were "about," or charts biographical context. And, frankly, many of the poems just aren't good — or, rather, they aren't up to the standards that Plath herself sets in other poems. What we need is an edition of selected poems, not simply Ariel in one form or another, that judiciously picks from all the work, surrenders biography to anything other than a note on the author, and keeps Ted Hughes many arm lengths away (with all due respect, sir). A sensational life story does not write a poem, and neither does such a biography warrant that we collect and document every scribbling ever written by an author. I say, let Sylvia rest, and let the great poems be revived, free of the shackles that bound their author. That's a bit dramatic, but you'll have to forgive me — I just finished reading a few hundred pages of Sylvia Plath.

  14. 5 out of 5

    George

    P(l)athology Biblimythological poetry composed by looking-glass fingertips that reveal, reflect the gothic in her-you-me. Her Hermes hovers emasculated, molting while molding her soul, bound as 'collected' but rather selected "to laud such man's blood!" Self-proclaimed editor or profaned self-redactor? Only the Hughes-abused knows. Regardless, blessed is the reader of her meter, her versed verse. Each word ablution's evolution to transmogrify the mind from angelic bog to morbid garden, or vice versa, P(l)athology Biblimythological poetry composed by looking-glass fingertips that reveal, reflect the gothic in her-you-me. Her Hermes hovers emasculated, molting while molding her soul, bound as 'collected' but rather selected "to laud such man's blood!" Self-proclaimed editor or profaned self-redactor? Only the Hughes-abused knows. Regardless, blessed is the reader of her meter, her versed verse. Each word ablution's evolution to transmogrify the mind from angelic bog to morbid garden, or vice versa, bridged by a byway of Christian bristles, sisyphean thistles, and a "forked/ Firework of fronds." Listen to the hymns, those auditions of shadows cast by him-her-all, presaging not adderall but lithium. Listen to the din, "[he] quit her at cock's crowing," hormoanal de-spirit udone. "'Fond phantom,' cried shocked Father Shawn." It's sung, from wisp of whispurr to dream of (s)cream, listing lilt, so listen to the human cues that cure curses and curse cures. Scrutinize epicurean chiaroscuros with a penchant for sentient dimensions. Linger over the linguistic triptychs for lunatics. On high, erudite Aphrodite whirls emerald arrows to pierce the senses of those in Seine. A swath of poems perfunctorily pastoral, florist obsessed, but highly redeemed for what comes before, after, some between. The epilogue a piquing prelude to the symphony that came before. The book itself should be shaped like a rhododendron dodecahedron festooned with festering, post-fenestration figures. Semi-evil Victorian voice announces that "The dark is melting. We touch like cripples."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jason Lilly

    It would be an understatement to say that I fell in love with Sylvia Plath. The Bell Jar sank my heart, broke it in two, and revived it again. Her choice of words, even in prose, dance through your mind and are hard to forget. This is especially true, though, of her poetry. Each poem has a beautiful life of its own, but together as an anthology, the poems show Plath's true heart, fickle, angry, passionate, uninhibited. From the more disturbing poems like "Daddy" to finding eloquent beauty is simp It would be an understatement to say that I fell in love with Sylvia Plath. The Bell Jar sank my heart, broke it in two, and revived it again. Her choice of words, even in prose, dance through your mind and are hard to forget. This is especially true, though, of her poetry. Each poem has a beautiful life of its own, but together as an anthology, the poems show Plath's true heart, fickle, angry, passionate, uninhibited. From the more disturbing poems like "Daddy" to finding eloquent beauty is simple things like "Black Rook in Rainy Weather". This collection is the best there is. While "Ariel" may be her most famous collection, this anthology includes so much more, compiling a collection of poems that span her writing career, from 1956-1963, as well as some of her early work. The book also contains a modest introduction from Plath's once-companion Ted Hughes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    GirlOfTheCrowd

    I've taught this collection at A Level and it was a challenging yet enlightening experience. Plath's imagistic, brutal poems are beautiful yet cutting. Our appreciation of her work is certainly heightened by a knowledge of relevant biographical information (her father's death and the effect it had upon her; her marriage to Ted; her psychological and emotional state; her suicide attempts etc) but these poems are engaging literary gems in themselves. Vibrant colour symbolism, aggressive imagery, h I've taught this collection at A Level and it was a challenging yet enlightening experience. Plath's imagistic, brutal poems are beautiful yet cutting. Our appreciation of her work is certainly heightened by a knowledge of relevant biographical information (her father's death and the effect it had upon her; her marriage to Ted; her psychological and emotional state; her suicide attempts etc) but these poems are engaging literary gems in themselves. Vibrant colour symbolism, aggressive imagery, haunting and complex subject matters.. to me, poetry doesn't get any better than this. It is worth noting, however, that Hughes edited Plath's posthumous publications. His 'Birthday Letters' clearly portray the situation as he wishes it to be viewed; and one cannot help but wonder if he has censored Plath somewhat here (After all, he did famously destroy one of her journals.... and we can make of that what we will.)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sekaquaptewa

    I have never really liked poetry, so I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book when I first started it, but after reading this collection my feelings have really changed. Sylvia Plath is a very powerful poet, who can turn an ordinary experience into a thunderstorm of emotions. For example, in her poem "Cut" she writes about cutting her thumb while cooking. While this sounds mundane, her choice of words and tempo make a hauntingly beautiful poem. In my favorite poem in the book, "Lady Lazaru I have never really liked poetry, so I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book when I first started it, but after reading this collection my feelings have really changed. Sylvia Plath is a very powerful poet, who can turn an ordinary experience into a thunderstorm of emotions. For example, in her poem "Cut" she writes about cutting her thumb while cooking. While this sounds mundane, her choice of words and tempo make a hauntingly beautiful poem. In my favorite poem in the book, "Lady Lazarus" This poem tells the story of a woman who can come back to life. It reads "Dying Is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. Kind of dark, but in a good way, which is really the theme of the whole book. I would recommend this book to people for like poetry and have long attention spans, because staying focused was the main thing I had a problem with. Over all I thought it was a interesting read and would recomend it to anyone looking for a book to read for halloween.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Shepherd

    By her own admission, Sylvia Plath rarely discarded a poem. Even if they were, in her eyes, imperfect, she accumulated them. For this we should all be grateful. Poetry as an art form can be rather subjective and artists, even those as gifted as Plath, can drift in and out of style. By presenting her work chronologically and without culling you can viscerally feel her growing as a poet. At the beginning of this collection I was wondering what all the fuss was about, and by the end I could barely By her own admission, Sylvia Plath rarely discarded a poem. Even if they were, in her eyes, imperfect, she accumulated them. For this we should all be grateful. Poetry as an art form can be rather subjective and artists, even those as gifted as Plath, can drift in and out of style. By presenting her work chronologically and without culling you can viscerally feel her growing as a poet. At the beginning of this collection I was wondering what all the fuss was about, and by the end I could barely stand putting the book down.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    "The hills step off into whiteness People or stars Regard me sadly, I disappoint them. The train leaves a line of breath. O slow Horse the color of rust, Hooves, dolorous bells-- All morning the Morning has been blackening, A flower left out. My bones hold a stillness, the far Fields melt my heart. They threaten To let me through to a heaven Starless and fatherless, a dark water." -- "Sheep in Fog" "The hills step off into whiteness People or stars Regard me sadly, I disappoint them. The train leaves a line of breath. O slow Horse the color of rust, Hooves, dolorous bells-- All morning the Morning has been blackening, A flower left out. My bones hold a stillness, the far Fields melt my heart. They threaten To let me through to a heaven Starless and fatherless, a dark water." -- "Sheep in Fog"

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eli Phillips

    i'm not into poetry, but i love plath. i was hooked first on her recording of The Thin People she's grim, she's angry, she's mad. i love her brutal emotion. and her use of alliteration is unrivaled. yummy. i'd like to die wrapped in her words, like a spider's snack, woven and suffocated in them :) i'm not into poetry, but i love plath. i was hooked first on her recording of The Thin People she's grim, she's angry, she's mad. i love her brutal emotion. and her use of alliteration is unrivaled. yummy. i'd like to die wrapped in her words, like a spider's snack, woven and suffocated in them :)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    I think this collection may be even more essential than Ariel, though Ariel is more of a landmark. This book is literally therapy for me. I don't care if Plath is a cliche; she was a genius and you can experience it through this work. I think this collection may be even more essential than Ariel, though Ariel is more of a landmark. This book is literally therapy for me. I don't care if Plath is a cliche; she was a genius and you can experience it through this work.

  22. 5 out of 5

    E. G.

    Introduction Poems 1956-1963 1956 --Conversation Among the Ruins --Winter Landscape, with Rocks --Pursuit --Bucolics --Tale of a Tub --Southern Sunrise --Channel Crossing --Prospect --The Queen's Complaint --Ode for Ted --Firesong --Song for a Summer's Day --Two Sisters of Persephone --Vanity Fair --Strumpet Song --Tinker Jack and the Tidy Wives --Faun --Street Song --Letter to a Purist --Soliloquy of the Solipsist --Dialogue Between Ghost and Priest --The Glutton --Monologue at 3 a.m. --Miss Drake Proceeds to Supper Introduction Poems 1956-1963 1956 --Conversation Among the Ruins --Winter Landscape, with Rocks --Pursuit --Bucolics --Tale of a Tub --Southern Sunrise --Channel Crossing --Prospect --The Queen's Complaint --Ode for Ted --Firesong --Song for a Summer's Day --Two Sisters of Persephone --Vanity Fair --Strumpet Song --Tinker Jack and the Tidy Wives --Faun --Street Song --Letter to a Purist --Soliloquy of the Solipsist --Dialogue Between Ghost and Priest --The Glutton --Monologue at 3 a.m. --Miss Drake Proceeds to Supper --Recantation --The Shrike --Alicante Lullaby --Dream with Clam-Diggers --Wreath for a Bridal --Epitaph for Fire and Flower --Fiesta Melons --The Goring --The Beggars --Spider --Spinster --Rhyme --Departure --Maudlin --Resolve --Landowners --Ella Mason and Her Eleven Cats --Crystal Gazer --November Graveyard --Black Rook in Rainy Weather 1957 --The Snowman on the Moor --Mayflower --Sow --The Everlasting Monday --Hardcastle Crags --The Thin People --On the Difficulty of Conjuring Up a Dryad --On the Plethora of Dryads --The Other Two --The Lady and the Earthenware Head --All the Dead Dears --Natural History --Two Views of Withens --The Great Carbuncle --Words for a Nursery --The Disquieting Muses --Night Shift --Ouija --On the Decline of Oracles --Snakecharmer --A Lesson in Vengeance 1958 --Virgin in a Tree --Perseus: The Triumph of Wit Over Suffering --Battle-Scene from the Comic Operatic Fantasy The seafarer --Yadwigha, on a Red Couch, Among Lilies --A Winter's Tale --Above the Oxbow --Memoirs of a Spinach-Picker --The Ghost's Leavetaking --Sculptor --Full Fathom Five --Lorelei --Mussel Hunter at Rock Harbor --Moonrise --Frog Autumn --In Midas' Country --Incommunicado --Child's Park Stones --Owl --Whiteness I Remember --Fable of the Rhododendron Stealers --The Death of Myth-Making --Green Rock, Winthrop Bay --The Companionable Ills --I Want, I Want --Poems, Potatoes --The Times Are Tidy 1959 --The Bull of Bendylaw --The Eye-mote --Point Shirley --Goatsucker --Watercolor of Grantchester Meadows --A Winter Ship --Aftermath --Two Views of a Cadaver Room --Suicide off Egg Rock --The Ravaged Face --Metaphors --Electra on Azalea Path --The Beekeeper's Daughter --The Hermit at Outermost House --Man in Black --Old Ladies' Home --The Net-Menders --Magnolia Shoals --The Sleepers --Yaddo: The Grand Manor --Blue Moles --Dark Wood, Dark Water --Polly's Tree --The Colossus --Private Ground Poem for a Birthday --1 Who --2 Dark House --3 Maenad --4 The Beast --5 Flute Notes from a Reedy Pond --6 Witch Burning --7 The Stones --The Burnt-out Spa --Mushrooms 1960 --You're --The Hanging Man --Stillborn --On Deck --Sleep in the Mojave Desert --Two Campers in Cloud Country --Leaving Early --Love Letter --Magi --Candles --A Life --Waking in Winter 1961 --Parliament Hill Fields --Whitsun --Zoo Keeper's Wife --Face Lift --Morning Song --Barren Woman --Heavy Woman --In Plaster --Tulips --I Am Vertical --Insomniac --Widow --Stars Over the Dordogne --The Rival --Wuthering Heights --Blackberrying --Finisterre --The Surgeon at 2 a.m. --Last Words --The Moon and the Yew Tree --Mirror --The Babysitters 1962 --New Year on Dartmoor --Three Women: A Poem for Three Voices --Little Fugue --An Appearance --Crossing the Water --Among the Narcissi --Pheasant --Elm --The Rabbit Catcher --Event --Apprehensions --Berck-Plage --The Other --Words heard, by accident, over the phone --Poppies in July --Burning the Letters --For a Fatherless Son --A Birthday Present --The Detective --The Courage of Shutting-Up --The Bee Meeting --The Arrival of the Bee Box --Stings --The Swarm --Wintering --A Secret --The Applicant --Daddy --Medusa --The Jailer --Lesbos --Stopped Dead --Fever 103° --Lyonnesse --Amnesiac --Cut --By Candlelight --The Tour --Ariel --Poppies in October --Nick and the Candlestick --Purdah --Lady Lazarus --The Couriers --Getting There --The Night Dances --Gulliver --Thalidomide --Letter in November --Death & Co. --Years --The Fearful --Mary's Song --Winter Trees --Brasilia --Childless Woman --Eavesdropper 1963 --Sheep in Fog --The Munich Mannequins --Totem --Child --Paralytic --Gigolo --Mystic --Kindness --Words --Contusion --Balloons --Edge Notes on Poems 1956-1963 The 'Ariel' Poems Translation Juvenilia A Selection of Fifty Early Poems --Bitter Strawberries --Family Reunion --Female Author --April 18 --Gold mouths cry --Dirge for a Joker --To Eva Descending the Stair --Cinderella --Jilted --Sonnet: To Eva --Bluebeard --Aquatic Nocturne --Notes to a Neophyte --Metamorphoses of the Moon --Dialogue En Route --To a Jilted Lover --The Dream --Sonnet: To Time --The Trial of Man --April Aubade --Go get the goodly squab --Trio of Love Songs --Lament --Doomsday --Moonsong at Morning --Doom of Exiles --The Dispossessed --Admonitions --Never try to trick me with a kiss --The Dead --Danse macabre --Circus in Three Rings --Prologue to Spring --Song for a Revolutionary Love --Sonnet to Satan --A Sorcerer Bids Farewell to Seem --Midsummer Mobile --On Looking into the Eyes of a Demon Lover --Insolent storm strikes at the skull --Denouement --Two Lovers and a Beachcomber by the Real Sea --Black Pine Tree in an Orange Light --Terminal --Love Is a Parallax --Aerialist --Morning in the Hospital Solarium --The Princess and the Goblins --Touch-and-Go --Temper of Time --Epitaph in Three Parts Uncollected Juvenilia: A complete list of poems composed before 1956 Index of Titles and First Lines

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robby

    I am fascinated by insanity, instability, depression. People who fall into that hole and never get out, who resurface only to fall right back in. I am fascinated by their stories, how they got there, how things end, and how they get there. Sylvia Plath’s poetry is about all of these things, but also about everything else, and I have always been fascinated by this woman who has been dead for almost 50 years. She is notorious for many things, her honesty, her imagery, and the way she took her own I am fascinated by insanity, instability, depression. People who fall into that hole and never get out, who resurface only to fall right back in. I am fascinated by their stories, how they got there, how things end, and how they get there. Sylvia Plath’s poetry is about all of these things, but also about everything else, and I have always been fascinated by this woman who has been dead for almost 50 years. She is notorious for many things, her honesty, her imagery, and the way she took her own life. Sealing off her children’s bedroom, she turned on her gas stove and threw her body inside. Before that, while she was in college, she took a slew of sleeping pills and hid under her house. She was always a creative woman, even in those shocking ways. I will be the first to admit, though, that knowing of these things she did only made me more excited to read her poetry. I have also read the only novel she wrote, the semi-autobiographical The Bell Jar. She published it under the pseudonym of Victoria Lucas, but people knew that it was her. I read it over a year ago, before I began this blog. I did not understand. Someday, I will read it again. I also attempted to read this collection before, a few summers ago, and I couldn’t. I didn’t understand poetry, meter or rhyme, imagery or meaning. I couldn’t understand her in the slightest and, in a way, I still don’t. But reading Anne Sexton’s poetry before this provided me with an aid, and I am glad to say that I had much more insight this time than I did before. But many things are still a mystery. So I will read it again, in a few months or years time. I will return to this. Trying to explain Sylvia Plath’s poetry will not be easy. I don’t think I will try. Maybe I’ll just ramble, as I usually do, because I’m not sure how to approach this. In the beginning, though I understand poetry more than I ever have before, I was still very confused. In more ways than one, Sylvia Plath’s poetry is largely inaccessible unless you frequently read poetry, or are a poet yourself. The images in her poems are complex yet, if you look deeply into each and every single poem, it is much easier to relate them to the life of this young woman. She died when she was 30, maybe only a third of the way through her life. Her life was complicated and chaotic, catastrophic. The poems came only when she was in the midst of something, whether internal or external. But when they did come, they came. She wrote with the intention of compiling them into a collection. The Colossus & Other Poems, her first collection, was written over the course of many years. She met her husband, she had children, and she was even a teacher for a brief period at her alma mater (Smith College.) She returned to England, her marriage fell apart, and over the course of 7 years, Sylvia wrote hundreds of poems. But Ariel, her second collection which was published posthumously, came quickly over the course of the final months of her life. She was always writing. Two more collections were published after Ariel, and then this collection was published. It won the Pulitzer Prize, and was the first posthumous publication to do so. She wrote The Bell Jar, and also a collection of short stories. She wrote in journals, which have been published together in another collection. Her life has fascinated millions, and also her poetry. I just realized that I haven’t been talking about her poetry at all. And honestly, I don’t know how. But I can explain the affect it had on me. I also can’t at all. I will try. I felt insane. I felt like I was on the edge of a cliff and I had 30 seconds to decide whether or not to jump. I felt like I was about to explode. I was hiding under my house. I was trying to teach a classroom full of children how to write poetry. My marriage was falling apart. I was falling apart. But also, these poems are about everything. They are about Sylvia, and the world. They are about the reader, and the things they are going through at that exact time. This in a way relates to May Oliver’s poetry, which I am partially making my way through now, but in a completely different way. I could pick out my favorite poems but, as with Anne Sexton, I couldn’t narrow them down to a meager list. All of these poems have something beautiful, including the Juvenilia and the drafts of poems in the Notes section. Go on Youtube and search Sylvia Plath. Listen to her reading her poems. If I read the poems aloud, in my voice, I had a better understanding. But hearing her voice speaking the words, including the words of the last poem she ever wrote, is haunting and beautiful and perfect. Sylvia Plath’s poetry is admirable. It is simple and complex at the same time, knocking down all of these boundaries and walls and just plowing through you, the reader. Her word choices are meticulous even though, at times, I felt the need to rush through poems. The pacing was quick and slow and each line led to the next line and the poems all begin and end in a single, swift arc. Her poetry is inspiring. I am already waiting for next summer, so I can come back to this. When I reread The Bell Jar, I’m sure I will repeat almost all of this. Thanks for making it this far. I’m glad I read this. Sylvia Plath is one of the poets that will be in Literature forever. Her poem “Mushrooms” is in my English anthology, and is one of the only decent poems in there. But reading it last fall, I knew I had to come back to this collection. And I have, and it was brilliant. Every single poem in this collection is brilliant, the hundreds of them. If you are a poet, read this. If you are not a poet, read this. If you don’t want to, that doesn’t change anything.

  24. 5 out of 5

    David J

    Review to come.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ева Нешкоска

    "I think I made you up inside my head." ✨ "I think I made you up inside my head." ✨

  26. 5 out of 5

    tiffany

    Oh, Sylvia. some favorites +Tale Of A Tub +Two Sisters of Persephone +Vanity Fair +Street Song +On The Plethora of Dryads +The Colossus +Poem For A Birthday #6 - Witch Burning +The Rival +Mirror +The Other +Medusa +Purdah +Lady Lazarus +Contusion +Edge (her last work) Unlike a lot of other reviewers, I greatly enjoyed her earlier works. Also loved the insights, notes, and juvenilia in the back of the book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

    These are beautiful, honest, wrenching poems. They show us life through the lens of a brilliant mind, struggling “to keep reality at bay” and to overcome her inner demons. They are all haunting, but my thoughts keep coming back to two in particular. In CHILD, Sylvia Plath tells her baby how she would love for his beautiful eyes to reflect only wonderful things rather than the anxious, troubled spirit she has become. In MIRROR, she personifies a looking glass. Speaking in the first person, she te These are beautiful, honest, wrenching poems. They show us life through the lens of a brilliant mind, struggling “to keep reality at bay” and to overcome her inner demons. They are all haunting, but my thoughts keep coming back to two in particular. In CHILD, Sylvia Plath tells her baby how she would love for his beautiful eyes to reflect only wonderful things rather than the anxious, troubled spirit she has become. In MIRROR, she personifies a looking glass. Speaking in the first person, she tells the “unmisted” truth to her ungrateful mistress, not out of cruelty but faithfulness. The Mirror says of her mistress: “In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.” I recommend reading Plath’s poetry along with her novel, THE BELL JAR, as they complement each other.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    'I rise with my red hair | and I eat men like air' This volume of Plath's poems embodies all the controversies about the Plath-Hughes poetic relationship and the struggle for possession of her legacy: Hughes tops and tails the poetry itself with his introduction and appendices, framing it via his own words, and also reorganises the poems by date of writing, rather than in the collections that Plath herself might have intended. None of that, of course, takes away from the poetry itself which is dif 'I rise with my red hair | and I eat men like air' This volume of Plath's poems embodies all the controversies about the Plath-Hughes poetic relationship and the struggle for possession of her legacy: Hughes tops and tails the poetry itself with his introduction and appendices, framing it via his own words, and also reorganises the poems by date of writing, rather than in the collections that Plath herself might have intended. None of that, of course, takes away from the poetry itself which is difficult but angry, destructive yet incandescent, redolent of a rage and fury that spills over into an almost frightening but also thrilling sense of creativity. So this might well be the Plath that Hughes creates - but the poetry stands up for itself.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chetley

    3.5 stars would be a better rating, but three stars is unjustifiable. Due to personal allegiances and taste, placing Plath at 5 stars and thererby even with Robert Desnos is impossible for me. With that said, Plath is a master. Her use of imagination, original images, perfectly fitted metaphor, persona, and, especially tone is powerful. Emotion is her thing. It seeps out of her poetry, but never alienates the reader, instead, her pain engages the reader. All those High School goths girls out the 3.5 stars would be a better rating, but three stars is unjustifiable. Due to personal allegiances and taste, placing Plath at 5 stars and thererby even with Robert Desnos is impossible for me. With that said, Plath is a master. Her use of imagination, original images, perfectly fitted metaphor, persona, and, especially tone is powerful. Emotion is her thing. It seeps out of her poetry, but never alienates the reader, instead, her pain engages the reader. All those High School goths girls out there are right. Plath is a force. A real poet. Real pain.

  30. 5 out of 5

    nicole

    When I first tackled this in 2009, I just... didn't get it. If you feel the same, especially if you love the Bell Jar as I do, come back to it. It's worth it. When I first tackled this in 2009, I just... didn't get it. If you feel the same, especially if you love the Bell Jar as I do, come back to it. It's worth it.

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