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The Collected Poems

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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  26,164 ratings  ·  337 reviews
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from her pre-1956 work, is to bring Sylvia Plath's poetry together in one volume, including the various uncollected and unpublished pieces, and to set everything in as true a chronological order as is possible, so that the ...more
Hardcover, 349 pages
Published December 25th 1981 by Turtleback Books (first published 1981)
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Ben Marcher This contains MOST of her poems. There are some early pieces the editor decided to discard in this edition.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
...more
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
...more
Jonathon
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 (I apologize for writing in outdated youthful urban slang, but I was bored and thought it might "spice up" these less-than-mediocre reviews.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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Rowena
Dec 01, 2012 Rowena rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poetry lovers
Shelves: poetry
I'm not sure if I'm being morbid but it is almost impossible for me to read any of Sylvia Plath's work without thinking about her suicide. I guess it's because her poetry is already so dark, and knowing that she suffered from depression and ended her own life, adds another element to it.

With that being said, I did appreciate the melancholy feel of this poem collection. Every sentence is beautiful and uses very evocative language.She was evidently so gifted and it's hard to imagine she was only 3
...more
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
...more
Myles
I know--I'm a cretin. As much as I love some of these poems, as a whole, this book is exhausting.

I firmly believe that Sylvia Plath was a great artist, in prose as well as poetry. The Bell Jar is one of my favorite novels. Nor do I think that her personality or the legend of her life overpowers her work. What personality could dim the power of "Conversation Among the Ruins", "The Colossus" or "Lady Lazarus"? They are some of her most well-known poems, but they stand out even in this massive col
...more
Courtney
"Clownlike, happiest on your hands,
Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,
Gilled like a fish. A common-sense
Thumbs-down on the dodo's mode.
Wrapped up in yourself like a spool,
Trawling your dark, as owls do.
Mute as a turnip from the Fourth
Of July to All Fools' Day,
O high-riser, my little loaf.

Vague as fog and looked for like mail.
Farther off than Australia.
Bent-backed Atlas, our traveled prawn.
Snug as a bud and at home
Like a sprat in a pickle jug.
A creel of eels, all ripples.
Jumpy as a Mexican bean.
...more
Karli
I've finally found my way through this incredible body of work. But now I find myself unable to rank this among my favorites, as much as I love the work and am fascinated by the poet. It was brilliant, but not perfect, and oftentimes, it was too dark, too much, for me to truly feel it. In the end, I much prefer Sylvia Plath as a novelist.
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 :)
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 ...more
Jason Lilly
Jun 01, 2011 Jason Lilly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone who loves poetry
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
...more
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
...more
Leah
When I started reading this book a little and kinda hard journey began for me.
Here's why:
1. I have never read a poetry collection before, just a few poems standing alone. So I wasn't really used to reading that much poetry on a day.
2. I read the English version because I wanted to read the poet's original words. This resulted in a lot of vocabulary problems and me, questioning my English skills, and if I learned anything at all in school. But after a few days I got used to it and understood mo
...more
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.
Benji
Suicidal, deranged, narccissitic; just my kinda girl! (unfortunately I'm only half-joking.) Thank you for sharing but its just not worth it without the sex. Give me heroes and monsters any day!
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.
Doug
Sylvia Plath... at last I'll spell your name right >_<
My review:
When I approached this book, I did not check the introuctions but, instead, got right into the poetry. I did not want to feel bias towards her stories or her struggle, because if art wishes a story or struggle to be told, it does so. See Oscar Wilde's preface to Dorian Gray for a better explanation. This, as well as the broken formalism in her style, may be the cause for why I don't "get it" as, while I spy on reviews during t
...more
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
...more
HM
Sep 04, 2012 HM rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Daddy and The Applicant are among my favorite poems.

اشعار پلات را سعید سعید پور در کتابی دو زبانه تحت عنوان در کسوت ماه -انتشارات مروارید- و همچنین ضیاء موحد به فارسی -مجله ارغنون ویژه شعر- ترجمه و منتشر کرده اند. سیلویا پلات چندی قبل از خودکشی این شعر را سروده است


این زن کامل شده است.
بر تن بیجانش
لبخند توفیق نقش بسته است
از طومار شب جامهی بلندش
توهّم تقدیری یونانی جاری است.
پاهای برهنهی او گویی میگویند:
تا اینجا آمدهایم دیگر بس است.
هر کودک مرده دور خود پیچیده است
ماری سپید
بر لب تنگ کوچکی از شیر
که اک
...more
Eric
Mar 08, 2010 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eric by: Elizabeth Hardwick's "Seduction and Betrayal"
Shelves: poetry
With Eliot, I only occasionally feel the pungency his declared influences (English Metaphysicals and French Symbolists) seem to promise. This, though, might be the thing. Creepy-crawlies and the skull beneath the skin.

-----

Looking back, I might have just read the carefully sequenced, climactic Ariel, but this selection, Diane Middlebrook's, was pretty consistently thrilling all the same. What a poet! Two of Plath's strengths immediately compelled my admiration: her genius for well-wrought hallu
...more
G. Marie
I've recently concluded that I won't finish books of poetry longer than 100 pages. However, these pages are so small that maybe I'll get through all 258 of them. This is what I read while facing the poetry bookcase at Nice Price Books with Otis on the end of his leash waiting patiently on a floor that hasn't been cleaned in years:

Little poppies, little hell flames,
Do you do no harm?

You flicker. I cannot touch you.
I put my hands among the flames. Nothing burns.

And it exhausts me to watch you
Flic
...more
Mai Mostafa
I don't even know, man. There were days when I could not sleep without reading her poetry. I'd like to think, though, that Sylvia would not be very happy with Ted's publishing of all of her poems, since some did not seem good enough for her. Her poetry is heavy with tough vocab and complex forms that sometimes I'd stop and think "What the hell is this poem about?" And don't get me started on how she inspired me to write more poems. That woman's life should be more acknowledged and celebrated rat ...more
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 ...more
Tilly
I'm going to make a confession: I'm not the most ardent fan of Sylvia Plath's poetry. My taste tends to run towards the short-form poem, and especially those that take a moment and stretch it to feel endless with a healthy splash of philosophy or existential angst (I'm talking John Burnside's Septuagesima, or Feast Days collection; Helen Farish's Coffin Path Poem; Frank O'Hara; Mary Oliver; Anne Carson for formal experimentation and words at their sparsest and sharpest). I'm not so interested in ...more
Hannah
So reading poetry was something I’ve definitely wanted to do nut didn’t really know where to start. The only poetry that I’ve really read in depth before is Emily Dickinson’s, but I want to go beyond my A level syllabus and really get into poetry.

So, seeing as I’ve just finished reading and reviewing The Bell Jar, and I adored the narrative style, I thought I would read what Plath was most admired for: her poems. The fact she’s a poet really communicated in her narrative, everything is so elabor
...more
Cintia Andrade
Logo nas primeiras páginas pensei "MEU DEUS, por que eu demorei tanto tempo para chegar em Sylvia Plath??", mas depois fiquei feliz de ter esperado os 30, acho que muita coisa não teria feito tanto sentido antes disso.

Maravilhosíssima.
Bonnie
I guess I didn't receive this the way others have. All the reviews on this book are outstanding, but I found the early poems vague and dry, and the later poems so bitter. I mean, I understand her bitterness; I really enjoyed The Bell Jar. I guess I just didn't get much out of the style. Is it weird to say I didn't feel like there was a lot of heart in it? So academic and blase.
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  • The Complete Poems
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Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer.

Known primarily for her poetry, Plath also wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The book's protagonist, Esther Greenwood, is a bright, ambitious student at Smith College who begins to experience a mental breakdown while interning for a fashion magazine in New York. The plot paralle
...more
More about Sylvia Plath...
The Bell Jar Ariel The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath The Colossus and Other Poems Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: Short Stories, Prose and Diary Excerpts

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“Eternity bores me,
I never wanted it.

From the poem "Years", 16 November 1962”
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“I lean to you, numb as a fossil. Tell me I'm here.” 538 likes
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