"In these poems...Sylvia Plath becomes herself, becomes something imaginary, newly, wildly and subtly created."
-- From the Introduction by Robert Lowell
Read an Excerpt
Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distils a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars.
And now you try Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.
Meet the Author
Sylvia Plath (1932-63) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied at Smith College. In 1955 she went to Cambridge University on a Fulbright fellowship, where she met and later married Ted Hughes. She published one collection of poems in her lifetime, The Colossus (1960), and a novel, The Bell Jar (1963). Her Collected Poems, which contains her poetry written from 1956 until her death, was published in 1981 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Other posthumous publications include Ariel, her landmark publication, Crossing the Water, Winter Trees, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams and The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962.
- Date of Birth:
- October 27, 1932
- Date of Death:
- February 11, 1963
- Place of Birth:
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Place of Death:
- London, England
- B.A., Smith College, 1955; Fulbright Scholar, Cambridge University
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Sylvia Plath's book Ariel is haunting and beautiful. The words reach out and touch the reader. For me they also draw out the muse and I find myself compelled to sit and write. Very good book for anyone interested in poetry.
Sylvia Plath is one of the most orginal poets. What is interesting about Plath's poetry is the fact you have understand her biography to understand the poetry. Her poems 'Daddy' and 'Lady Lazarus' display her raw talent and it will continue to awe audinces of all ages.
These poems did not make me cry. Instead they made me bleed, they left my hands to scorch, they sterilised my mind of 'normal' thought for hours, perhaps days, & eventually those poems would bring me to my knees. The edges of each line, the edges of each stanza, what were they but blades from which steam would glow, very hot. Indeed there is an inhuman element in the fuel of such lyricism. Inhuman, alien, animal, supernatural? By the end of the book I was quite nearly consumed by a desire, even a feral lust, to worship, to worship a pure entity whose name, the relentless incantation, must signify, for lack of better vocabulary, 'that sorceress, the one which is driven by the Implacable Contained Fury'. ++MY FAVOURITE LINES++ From 'Cut': What a thrill--My thumb instead of an onion. The top quite gone Except for a sort of a hinge Of skin, A flap like a hat, Dead white. Then that red plush. From 'Lady Lazarus': 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. From 'Fever 103': Pure? What does it mean? The tongues of hell Are dull, dull as the triple Tongues of dull, fat Cerebus Who wheezes at the gate. Incapable Of licking clean The aguey tendon, the sin, the sin. From 'Ariel': White Godiva, I unpeel--Dead hands, dead stringencies. And now I Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas. The child's cry Melts in the wall. And I Am the arrow, The dew that flies, Suicidal, at one with the drive Into the red Eye, the cauldron of morning.