The Collected Poems

The Collected Poems

by Sylvia Plath


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Pulitzer Prize winner Sylvia Plath’s complete poetic works, edited and introduced by Ted Hughes.

By the time of her death on 11, February 1963, Sylvia Plath had written a large bulk of poetry. To my knowledge, she never scrapped any of her poetic efforts. With one or two exceptions, she brought every piece she worked on to some final form acceptable to her, rejecting at most the odd verse, or a false head or a false tail. Her attitude to her verse was artisan-like: if she couldn’t get a table out of the material, she was quite happy to get a chair, or even a toy. The end product for her was not so much a successful poem, as something that had temporarily exhausted her ingenuity. So this book contains not merely what verse she saved, but—after 1956—all she wrote.—Ted Hughes, from the Introduction

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061558894
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/06/2018
Series: P.S. Series
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 78,088
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: NP (what's this?)

About the Author

Sylvia Plath was born in 1932 in Massachusetts. Her books include the poetry collections The Colossus, Crossing the Water, Winter Trees, Ariel, and Collected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize. A complete and uncut facsimile edition of Ariel was published in 2004 with her original selection and arrangement of poems. She was married to the poet Ted Hughes, with whom she had a daughter, Frieda, and a son, Nicholas. She died in London in 1963.

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

Read an Excerpt


Conversation Among the Ruins

Through portico of my elegant house you stalk
With your wild furies, disturbing garlands of fruit
And the fabulous lutes and peacocks, rending the net
Of all decorum which holds the whirlwind back.
Now, rich order of walls is fallen; rooks croak
Above the appalling ruin; in bleak light
Of your stormy eye, magic takes flight
Like a daunted witch, quitting castle when real days break

Fractured pillars frame prospects of rock;
While you stand heroic in coat and tie, I sit
Composed in Grecian tunic and psyche-knot,
Rooted to your black look, the play turned tragic:
With such blight wrought on our bankrupt estate,
What ceremony of words can patch the havoc?

Winter Landscape, with Rooks

Water in the millrace, through a sluice of stone,
plunges headlong into that black pond
where, absurd and out-of-season, a single swan
floats chaste as snow, taunting the clouded mind
which hungers to haul the white reflection down.

The austere sun descends above the fen,
an orange cyclops-eye, scorning to look
longer on this landscape of chagrin;
feathered dark in thought, I stalk like a rook,
brooding as the winter night comes on.

Last summer's reeds are all engraved in ice
as is your image in my eye; dry frost
glazes the window of my hurt; what solace
can be struck from rock to make heart's waste
grow green again? Who'd walk in this bleak place?

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The Collected Poems 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
RachelWeaver on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What else can be said about this poor woman that hasn't been said before ad nauseum? Her poetry continues to speak volumes on its own. Gorgeous, life-shattering work. As is the cliche, I read her first in my melancholy teens, but she has echoed within me ever since. She is the reason I still read and love poetry, the reason I know that poetry can transform you.
LarrySouders on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sylvia Plath did not win the Pulitize Prize undeservedly.
AK_Doug on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite collection of poems. I read it during my melancholy teenage years, and I always felt better. It is impossible to read this and not find a poem that will be one of your favorites.
lachatte on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If she would have just hung on a year or two longer.
abirdman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Valuable. Plath is one of the foremost women poets of the 20th century. This book is full of poetic treasure, though I would like to have seen it edited and designed better.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. I went to a book discussion on the bell jar last week. Very intense writing.
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Sara-Chantel More than 1 year ago
I will admit upfront that I am not a poetry person. I have respect for it, yes, but I am unable to write and read it is as much as I enjoy to write and read prose. I found Sylvia Plath's poetry after reading The Bell Jar. I was absolutely in love with The Bell Jar and immediately searched for more writings and I stumbled upon Plath's poetry. After reading this book I have a new respect and liking for poetry. I love Plath's dark style and concepts, and I was impressed with her use of imagery and her sentence structure. Out of the book, "Lady Lazarus" was my favorite. It is such a beautiful poem. There is so much behind it and so much represented in her words that it is really impressive. It is poems like "Lady Lazarus" and "Daddy" that make me want to read more poetry.
Caylin.D More than 1 year ago
A deeply felt collection of poems by Sylvia Plath. You can start to grasp the inner workings of Plath's dark mind through her poems. Written from the late 50s up untill a few days before her death by suicide. By far the best collection of poems ive read. She helps you figure out yourself through her flaws and tragities by far the best poet and novelist ive ever read she's my very favorite.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sylvia Plath's beautiful collection of poetry has proved itself to be one of the most enjoyed books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Her deep and moving poems awakened my emotions and opened a window to inspiration. Reading this book is a MUST.
Guest More than 1 year ago
there isn't much i can say about sylvia plath that hasn't already been said. this is a wonderful collection of poems by one of the greatest contemporary female poets. the later works are her best (1962-3), and it was nice to have seen some of her juvenalia. a must for a poetry lover
skaspid More than 1 year ago
When I began reading poetry, I brought a bias with me: I hated free verse. I didn't see the point to it, and couldn't understand why a person would write a poem without a fixed structure. And though I now enjoy free verse very much, I continued to hate it for years. But during this time, I read Sylvia Plath, and during my free verse-hating period, she was the only free verse poet I liked (and was proud to announce). There's something unique to Plath's poetry that no other poet, free verse or fixed (not even Sexton), can match. This voice, with it's rich imagery, sounds, and tone, draws it's reader (or listener) in immediately and doesn't let go. It's a painful voice, a voice filled with tragedy; but it's also powerful, and controlled. This collection, containing all of Plath's poetry, including those written in juvenilia, is a perfect representation of that voice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read Sylvia Plath.Her poetry seems like well written suicide notes.Though Ive been there myself I don't see why anyone sane would want to read her.The only poem of hers I like is 'Daddy' and that should be followed by a reading of Tender is the Night