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4.7 20
by Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell (Foreword by)

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"In these poems...Sylvia Plath becomes herself, becomes something imaginary, newly, wildly and subtly created."
-- From the Introduction by Robert Lowell


"In these poems...Sylvia Plath becomes herself, becomes something imaginary, newly, wildly and subtly created."
-- From the Introduction by Robert Lowell

Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
"One of the most marvelous volumes of poetry published for a very long time."
George Steiner
It is fair to say that no group of poems since Dylam Thomas's Deaths and Entrances has had as vivid and disturbing an impact on English critics and readers as has Ariel. Sylvia Plath's poems have already passed into legend as both representative of our present tone of emotional life and unique in their implacable, harsh brilliance. . . These poems take tremendous risks, extending Sylvia Plath's essentially austere manner to the very limit. They are a bitter triumph, proof of the capacity of poetry to give to reality the greater permanence of the imagined. She could not return from them.
The Reporter
Critical Quarterly
Sylvia Plath's last poems have impressed themselves on many readers with the force of myth. They are among the handful of writings by which future generations will seek to know us and give us a name.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Perennial Classics Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.32(d)

Read an Excerpt

Morning Song

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.

Ariel. Copyright © by Sylvia Plath. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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.

Brief Biography

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

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Ariel 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
ShaneParrish More than 1 year ago
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.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
library_grrl85 More than 1 year ago
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.