Poems (Everyman's Library)

Overview

A representative selection of verse by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who left in the wake of her personal tragedy a legacy of poems that combine terrifying intensity and dazzling artistry. With their brutally frank self-exposure and emotional immediacy, Plath's poems, from "Lady Lazarus" to "Daddy," have had an enduring influence on contemporary poetry.
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Hardcover
$12.63
BN.com price
(Save 15%)$14.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (24) from $2.84   
  • New (14) from $8.63   
  • Used (10) from $2.84   
Sending request ...

Overview

A representative selection of verse by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who left in the wake of her personal tragedy a legacy of poems that combine terrifying intensity and dazzling artistry. With their brutally frank self-exposure and emotional immediacy, Plath's poems, from "Lady Lazarus" to "Daddy," have had an enduring influence on contemporary poetry.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Her poems] have that exquisite, heart-breaking quality about them that has made Sylvia Plath our acknowledged Queen of Sorrows, the spokeswoman for our most private, most helpless nightmares. . . . Her poetry is as deathly as it is impeccable; it enchants us almost as powerfully as it must have enchanted her." --Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375404641
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Series: Everyman's Library Pocket Poets Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 557,095
  • Product dimensions: 4.35 (w) x 6.49 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath was born in 1932 in Massachusetts. She began publishing poems and stories as a teenager and by the time she entered Smith College had won several poetry prizes.  She was a Fulbright Scholar in Cambridge, England, and married British poet Ted Hughes in London in 1956.  The young couple moved to the States, where Plath became an instructor at Smith College, and had two children.  Later, they moved back to England, where Plath continued writing poetry and wrote The Bell Jar, which was first published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas in England in 1963.  On February 11, 1963, Plath committed suicide.  The Bell Jar was first published under her own name in the United States by Harper & Row in 1971, despite the protests of Plath's family.  Plath's Collected Poems, published posthumously in 1981, won the Pulitzer Prize.

Biography

"I was supposed to be having the time of my life," Sylvia Plath writes as her alter ego Esther Greenwood in The Bell Jar. Like Esther, Plath was a bright young woman who had earned scholarships and awards, and had all the talent to back them up, and saw this—but could never enjoy it. Her struggles with depression were in fact what often motivated her to write, until she committed suicide at age 30 in 1963.

Plath is among the best-known confessional poets, coming from a school (at its peak in the ‘50s and ‘60s) that left few stones unturned when it came to self-examination and revelation. Though not always bald or literal in her expression, Plath chronicled her flirtation with death—and with life—in her poems. She writes in "Lady Lazarus," a verse about a woman rising from the dead yet again, "Dying/Is an art, like everything else./I do it exceptionally well./I do it so it feels like hell./I do it so it feels real./I guess you could say I've a call." She has an ability to convey deep, almost frightening emotion, but do it in a deceptively lilting, almost-but-not-quite humorous language.

"Lady Lazarus" was published in Ariel (1965), a collection that appeared posthumously, as did other well-known collections such as Crossing the Water (1971), Winter Trees (1972) and Collected Poems (1981), for which Plath was awarded the Pulitzer. Though not all death and despair, Ariel stands out among Plath's works because it represented a departure from the first collection that was published while she was still alive, The Colossus and Other Poems, but primarily because it was such an intimate record of the end of her life. As poet Bob Hass remarked in a PBS interview, "Readers in general discovered this book [Ariel] of a young woman with two babies, whose husband had left her, living in a cold house, trying to be a mom, trying to be a writer, trying to put her life together, who didn't make it—who killed herself—and wrote poems full of rage, bravery, and it electrified people."

Plath's father died when she was eight years old, an event from which the poet never quite seemed to recover. She writes in Ariel's "Daddy": "At twenty I tried to die/And get back, back, back to you./I thought even the bones would do." Oddly (or perhaps appropriately) for a woman so devastatingly able to feel and react to people, Plath often writes about humans as objects, things that make noise, can be broken or repaired, marked in a continuum from birth to expiration. A child on the floor is like "an unstrung puppet"; cats howl "like women, or damaged instruments"; people are compared to statues. The technique provides a twisted understatement to the emotional effects Plath writes about, in a world where even the states of love and motherhood are accompanied by darkness.

Whereas Plath's poems often seem strange and dreamlike, The Bell Jar is direct and accessible. It ranks with Catcher in the Rye in both literary achievement and status. Plath gets across not only what it feels like to struggle with the most deadly and devastating emotions, but also how hapless and impotent the people around her are in coping with her. She portrays a woman at odds with the world, but does so without affect or pretension. It's no wonder the book has become a classic, particularly among young female readers. At times of despair, readers find comfort and empathy in Plath's words. All of her painfully wrought "confessions" are of us, for us.

Good To Know

Plath married fellow poet Ted Hughes, whom she met while studying in Cambridge. At the time Plath killed herself, Hughes had left her for another woman (who also eventually killed herself). He wrote about his relationship with Sylvia in Birthday Letters, an autobiographical collection of poems published just before he died in 1998.

Plath was portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow in Sylvia (2003), a film produced by the BBC and Focus Features. The Bell Jar was adapted to the screen by director Larry Peerce in 1979.

The Colossus was Plath's literary debut in 1960, but she also published A Winter Ship that same year, anonymously. The Bell Jar was initially published under a pseudonym, Victoria Lucas.

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Victoria Lucas (pseudonym)
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 27, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      February 11, 1963
    2. Place of Death:
      London, England

Table of Contents

Jilted
Bluebeard
Trio of Love Songs
Lament
Two Lovers and a Beachcomber by the Real Sea
Epitaph in Three Parts
Channel Crossing
Ode for Ted
Song for a Summer's Day
Two Sisters of Persephone
Faun
Letter to a Purist
Alicante Lullaby
Wreath for a Bridal
Fiesta Melons
Spider
Spinster
Black Rook in Rainy Weather
Hardcastle Crags
The Lady and the Earthenware Head
All the Dead Dears
The Disquieting Muses
Ouija
On the Decline of Oracles
Snakecharmer
Mussel Hunter at Rock Harbor
The Bull of Bendylaw
Suicide off Egg Rock
Metaphors
Electra on Azalea Path
The Beekeeper's Daughter
Man in Black
The Colossus
Poem for a Birthday
Who
Dark House
Maenad
The Beast
Flute Notes from a Reedy Pond
Witch Burning
The Stones
Mushrooms
You're
The Hanging Man
Stillborn
Candles
Zoo Keeper's Wife
Face Lift
Morning Song
Barren Woman
Heavy Women
In Plaster
Tulips
I Am Vertical
Blackberrying
The Moon and the Yew Tree
Mirror
Three Women: A Poem for Three Voices
Little Fugue
An Appearance
Crossing the Water
Among the Narcissi
Pheasant
Elm
The Rabbit Catcher
Event
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
The Applicant
Daddy
Medusa
Fever 103[degree]
Amnesiac
Cut
By Candlelight
Ariel
Poppies in October
Nick and the Candlestick
Lady Lazarus
Death & Co.
Winter Trees
Childless Woman
Sheep in Fog
The Munich Mannequins
Totem
Child
Paralytic
Gigolo
Mystic
Kindness
Words
Contusion
Balloons
Edge
Notes on Poems 1956-1963
Index of Fist Lines
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)