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4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  27,481 ratings  ·  662 reviews
"In these poems...Sylvia Plath becomes herself, becomes something imaginary, newly, wildly and subtly created."
-- From the Introduction by Robert Lowell
Paperback, 105 pages
Published February 3rd 1999 by Harper Perennial Modern Classics (first published January 1st 1965)
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The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
5th out of 1,499 books — 1,668 voters
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodA Room of One's Own by Virginia WoolfThe Second Sex by Simone de BeauvoirThe Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Best Feminist Books
54th out of 985 books — 1,150 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Bryant
Inspired by Paul Legault's brilliant idea of translating Emily Dickinson's poems into English, I thought immediately - I have to steal that idea. So here are some of the Ariel poems of Sylvia Plath translated into English. I have, of course, tried my utmost to perform this task with tact, discretion and good taste.



Look, let's get this straight. I am a tree, you are a woman. We can never be together, not in the way you'd like, anyway. Plus, you're kind of irritati
When I was a kid, I loved stories about intrepid explorers who visited places no one had ever seen before, and died heroically in the attempt. I guess Scott of the Antarctic is the canonical example - though later on, I discovered to my surprise that Norwegians just think he was an idiot who didn't prepare carefully, and that Amundsen was the real hero. There is a wonderful episode in Jan Kjærstad's Erobreren which contrasts the English and Norwegian views of these two great men.

So what's this g
Apr 12, 2014 Dolors rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Exotic Birds
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2014
Either disturbed by some haunting, otherworldly presence or simply because of the purring birdsong I awake on the early hours of this winter morning and I grab Sylvia Plath’s collection of poems Ariel, which is calling to me from my bedside table. Still drowsy with soft shades of silky sheets printed on my cheeks my glassy eyes try to focus on stray words that chop like sharpened axes. Streams of unleashed running waters wash over me but fail to cleanse my soul. I am unsettled. Disturbing images ...more
It probably won't be right to draw comparisons between the Sylvia Plath who wrote Mad Girl's Love Song during her time at Smith's and the Sylvia Plath of Ariel. There's a world of difference between a Sylvia merely mourning lost love and a bitter, lonesome, vengeful, depressed Sylvia trying to live out the last vestiges of a tumultuous life by seeking a form of catharsis through these poems. And, indeed, a very personal set of poems these are.
It took me a while to get through this book not only
The restored edition of Ariel is the group of poems that Sylvia Plath left as a manuscript at the time of her death by suicide in 1963. The originally published Ariel was edited by her former husband, Ted Hughes, who substituted some of her other poems written in the last months of her life. The forward by their daughter, Frieda Hughes, discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each grouping of poems, trying to be fair to each parent.

The poems in Ariel are brilliant and powerful, but often sad,
It feels like Sylvia Plath’s life overshadowed her literary value; her autobiographical novel The Bell Jar was like a confessional and people tend to read it for all the juicy bits. Ariel is a collection of poems published posthumously, just a few years after her suicide. It is true that we have Plath to think for advancing the confessional poetry form and exploring topics previously taboo like suicide, mental illness and domestic abuse.

I would like to thank Meg Wolitzer’s book Belzhar for pushi
Plath astonishes with her grasp on words. What more can I say about her? I've already filled plenty of spaces praising this wondrous woman. Each poem is a breath of fresh air.

'Your handful of notes; / The clear vowels rise like balloons.'

'My bones hold a stillness, the / Fields melt my heart.'

'They threaten / To let me through to a haven / Starless and fatherless, a dark water.'

'A living doll, everywhere you look. / It can sew, it can cook / It can talk, talk, talk.'

'Out of the ash / I rise wi
3.5 stars

I find poetry hard to review. I'm not much of a poet myself: I dabble now and again but I wouldn't call myself one. I don't feel like I have enough knowledge of the craft to fully appreciate poetry, and so I can't really comment on how good it is.

Sylvia Plath is a poet I do like, but I don't love all of her poems. This collection in particular was a little bit of a mixed bag, but I feel like I'll appreciate it more and more on subsequent readings - and I will most definitely be return

Ariel, Sylvia Plath’s swan song, was first published by her husband Ted Hughes, who removed some poems from her manuscript and added others, composed in her last days, an act that outraged some Plath’s fans, in spite of his explanation that he rearranged the poetry to recreate her life. It was said that by doing that, Hughes changed the spirit of the volume, replacing the optimism suggested by the promise of rebirth in the bees series that closed Plath’s manuscript with the darkness that envelop
If you've read a previous edition of Ariel, drop everything and run out to get this restored edition.

The forward by Frieda slayed me. She poignantly and beautifully paved a way for the reader, preparing them for her mother's work. Plath's poems were made that much more by what she had to say.

It's not even fair for me to rate this upon a once over reading - I've hardly revisited or let any of it sink in...but that forward deserves all the stars.

Sylvia Plath has a very singular voice-she might be talking about bloody veins and suicide or envy or simply describing doom in the morning sun but it's picturesque and it affects me in the most indefatigable way, almost subliminally-like the beautiful and fatal thoughts of Esther Greenwood. You need to look closer and dig deeper because underneathe that facade of despair is a more subtle shade of human conscience, designed to be missed. My own favorites were: Ariel, The Moon and the Yew Tree an ...more
I am the type seemingly predestined for Plath worship. Oh, it's easy: white, female, feminist, literary, dark-sided. And I've been disavowing my girl Sylvia for a while now, leery of guilt by association. Scandals, hype and armies of ersatz Plaths have watered down public opinion, which is what it is, but life and legend are not the sum of literature. Ariel is baptism by fire. When I read this at thirteen or fourteen it blew up a new space in my mind to make a place where poetry could feel like ...more
Özgür Daş
İyi tutulmuş bir hesap defteri gibi, doğrusun,
Tertemiz bir mazisin, kendi yüzünü üstüne koyduğun.
Ariel is an interesting work of poetry. I find Sylvia Plath's style interesting and she definitely ranks highly among poets yet I found myself caring little for many of the works in Ariel and loving many of the others.

My personal favourites are The Arrival of the Bee Box, Daddy, and Fever 103,. They all best express the factors of Plath's poetry to me which I think is brilliant and also sad. That is the sense of longing, entrapment and desire. A sense which appeared to plague her throughout her
Lettie Prell
This has happened several times now. Friends or family sitting around after dinner, and people begin reciting their favorite poems, in whole or in part. It's wonderful being around people who love the rhythm of language. I join in with my favorites from Sylvia Plath and, kind of stops things. Stares and silence. Poems about suicide and father hatred can do that I guess. Yet these are the ones stuck in my head, not because I share the sentiments but because the poems are so bold, raw, s ...more
i studied this collection senior year of college in my "hand of the poet" seminar. i wrote a 20 page paper on 3 poems from here. i studied plath's handwriting. i analyzed the placement of each poem, and how hughes (sorry to say) kind of screwed everything up in that regard. to me, this is the ultimate. when i think of good poetry, this is the first thing that pops into my head. when i accidently cut my finger chopping up vegetables for dinner, i immediately begin reciting "cut" to myself. these ...more
“O God, I am not like you
In your vacuous black,
Stars stuck all over, bright stupid confetti.
Eternity bores me,
I never wanted it.”


Extraordinary, isn’t she? I was captivated by the poems in Ariel and am in agreement with others who view this collection as a masterpiece. For even when I came across a poem I didn’t fully understand, I could still sense the power within the words of Sylvia Plath which are precise, explosive, darkly beautiful.

In the afterword to Ariel author biographer Hal Hage
If someone asks me how is it possible to love something you don't (fully) understand, I'd just show them Ariel. It's like looking at a Jackson Pollock's painting, or a Dali's for that matter (since I actually like him better, and though his work is ??? in some cases, it's extraordinary, abstrct enough and open to interpretation. That was Ariel to me while I read it... and no need to say I'm going to read some of her poems here once in a while.)

I'd like to also thank this edition for having the o


Após cada pancada sua a madeira range,
E os ecos!
São ecos que viajam
Do centro para fora como cavalos.

A seiva
Brota como lágrimas, como a
Água a esforçar-se
Por recompor o seu espelho
Sobre a rocha

Que pinga e se transforma,
Uma caveira branca
Comida pelas ervas daninhas.
Anos mais tarde
Encontro-as no caminho -

Palavras secas e indomáveis,
Infatigável som de cascos no chão.
Do fundo do charco estrelas fixas
Governam uma vida.

Sylvia Plath é, certamente, uma das estrelas que brilham
Feb 28, 2014 Fewlas rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Fewlas by: Regalo di Stela
”I could not run without having to run forever.”


La lingua della Plath crea in queste poesie dei nuovi universi in cui l’amore assume le più disparate forme e si lega ai simboli della luna, dei fiori, del mondo animale, del corpo umano il quale, mediante un sacro processo di transustanziazione, diventa, appunto, oggetto amoroso totalizzante. Una totalità che però annichilisce, perché alle immagini del desiderio d’amore corrisponde sempre quella della morte. Questi due aspetti della
I keep coming back to this and each time it feeds a different part if me. A staple in my soul pantry.
This isn’t rocket science. Poetry isn’t written to be read. It’s written to be said. There is nothing like listening to the poet himself but that’s not to say that others can’t do a brilliant job. I can’t imagine McGough being better done than by Mitchell, for example.

Here Rampling held the audience in rapt attention....


Dec 22, 2012 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
This is Sylvia. Purging.

Hushed and frantic and brutal.

Written during the last months of her life…her peak was so so beautiful. Tragic.
"I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions"
I am biased in all my precious goodread reviews, reviews mainly written so i could, years later, look back and laugh at my exceedingly stupid thoughts.
so I am biased to sylvia plath.
although some argue that she has the very well put perfectly neat ice cold exterior of a poem that doesn't say much. and that her poems are too on track, if that makes sense, I think shes one of the top three most moving poets I've ever encountered.
I say I am biased
This being my second poetry collection by Plath after i read The Colossus i must compare this to that collection which was her debut poetry collection.

The Colossus had some truly brilliant poems but also several uneven, weaker poems. Ariel i can see the maturity of the poems, the author and why its seen as arguably her best poetry collection. It was much more even in the quality of all the poems in the book. The Colossus had more fav poems of mine just because the themes was more universal, dar
Disclaimer: poetry’s never really been my thing. Three stars for poetry is five from anyone else.

There were some good ones here, just knife-slicing sharp, escalating and dark. “Lady Lazarus,” for example, is exactly the chilling casualty I was expecting from Plath. But there were some gentle giants here too, which tended to be my favorites: “The Night Dances,” “Letter in November,” “Balloons,” the final graceful “Words.”

It was the opening line, though, that I never got over:
Love set you going l
an outstanding collection of poems. don't let her reputation fool you, just because she's every depressed high schooler's favorite poet doesn't mean she's not damn good. Concision, passion, attention to detail, and verbs that will straight up eat you. And what's more, there's an undercurrent of what we think of today as the rhythm of slam poetry in her work, certain poems have that spoken momentum that we associate with slam without all the cheesiness and predictability. read it again, you won't ...more
Meriam Kharbat
There are many ways to read these poems. The best way, though not the safest, is to let yourself sink into the deep murky waters offered to you by Sylvia Plath, and allow the darkness to enshroud you.

This is what it felt like to me.

There were many poems which mysteries I couldn't unveil. Nevertheless, the poet's voice, resonated in my head, it spoke to a part of me that I have shoved and buried, years and years ago.

I felt dizzy after finishing this.
Marty :}
“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 have a call.”

Sylvia Plath's writing is very interesting, I fould it strange at first, but I got curious one day because of some reviews and read her history and to be honest, I think it's amazing and shocking how much somebody's life reflects on their work. I feel like I didn't understand many of her poems because they were way too personal for me to s
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All About Books: 1st December 2014 - 'Daddy' by Sylvia Plath 20 37 Dec 08, 2014 06:50AM  
Book Addicts: Discussion Questions 5 5 Jun 12, 2014 07:11PM  
Book Addicts: What do you think? 18 8 May 27, 2014 06:16AM  
The restored editions? 2 18 Jun 06, 2013 07:07AM  
  • Birthday Letters
  • Selected Poems
  • The Country Between Us
  • And Her Soul Out Of Nothing
  • Diving Into the Wreck
  • High Windows
  • The First Four Books of Poems
  • Lunch Poems
  • Sleeping With the Dictionary
  • The Gold Cell (Knopf Poetry Series)
  • The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos
  • Life Studies and For the Union Dead
  • Death of a Naturalist
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 about Sylvia Plath...
The Bell Jar The Collected Poems 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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11 trivia questions
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“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 have a call.”
“I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
to lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free.”
More quotes…