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Ariel

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  25,864 ratings  ·  604 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 1,451 books — 1,583 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
53rd out of 941 books — 1,079 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul
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.

ARIEL TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH

ELM.

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
...more
Manny
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
...more
Dolors
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
Samadrita
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
...more
Michael
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
...more
April
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
...more
Stela

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
...more
Basuhi
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
A.K.
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
Jonathan
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
...more
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, well...it 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
brook
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
averybiird
“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.”

(Years)


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
...more
Paula
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
...more
Teresa

PALAVRAS


"Machados,
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.
Enquanto
Do fundo do charco estrelas fixas
Governam uma vida.
"

Sylvia Plath é, certamente, uma das estrelas que brilham
...more
Fewlas
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.”

Totalizzante.

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
...more
Heather
I keep coming back to this and each time it feeds a different part if me. A staple in my soul pantry.
notgettingenough
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....

http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpres...

Mary
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.
Abbyjay
"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
...more
Mohammed
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
...more
Jamie
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
...more
henry
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
...more
Jennn
1st draft of review:
To be honest, I was a little nervous when I first grabbed the book from the library. This was Plath’s last book and last poetry in her life, and many of the poems I had grown up with. I wanted to read this book very carefully. I wanted to make sure that nostalgia wouldn’t cloud my review, or the huge fame that surrounds this book. But, thankfully, the more I read, the more those trivial worries faded and I was immersed in Plath. Sometimes the poems lose focus, sometimes they’
...more
Serena
Ariel by Sylvia Plath is a collection that she crafted near the end of her life, before her suicide, according to the forward by Robert Lowell. These poems are what Plath has been best know for, other than The Bell Jar, and these poems are by turns blunt and dark as she refers to death at nearly every turn and the fleeting nature of life. Her poems are not only confessional in nature about her emotions and life, but they also examine the bittersweet nature of life and being a woman.

In “Elm,” the
...more
Mamdouh Abdullah
سيلفيا بلاث شاعرة أكثر منها روائية. أتذكر أول مرة قرأت فيه قصائد لها. لم تعجبني إطلاقاً. قصائدها مغرقة في الذاتية, تدور حول موضوع واحد تكتب عنه بكل شغف وبأعصاب باردة. هناك آراء تقول أنه من الأفضل فصل الحياة الخاصة عن العمل الأدبي, إذ من الأفضل أن يحدث العمل أدبي أثراً بمعزل عن الحياة الخاصة للمؤلف. إذا أحدث النص تأثيراً وكان هناك تفاعلاً سيمتد الأمر للحياة الخاصة للبحث في تفاصيل العمل. من الصعب فصل الحياة الخاصة لسيلفيا بلاث عن أعمالها الكاملة, من قصيدة ورواية. بل وأجد أن التعرف على حياة سيلفيا ...more
Sara
There's no doubt in my mind that Sylvia Plath was a genius in her craft. I previously read The Bell Jar, and have just read her poetry for the first time. Sometimes, I felt like I really got her. I connected with some of her poems ("Words", "Cut", and "The Applicant", most notably), but other times, I felt disconnected and in the dark, unable to read between the lines, so to speak. Given that many of these poems were written in the few short months before Plath's suicide, I am okay with not rela ...more
Punk
Poetry. This volume appeals to me on more of an academic level than a personal one. I feel like if I just spent enough time with it, I could figure out Plath's cipher and decode her metaphors. Written in the last two months before her suicide, these poems feel like they're all part of the same machine, like they're building something bigger. There's a lot of repetition, a lot of language being used in similar ways, like you could pull one thread (black, trains, Jews, bees) and watch the pages wr ...more
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All About Books: 1st December 2014 - 'Daddy' by Sylvia Plath 20 34 Dec 08, 2014 06:50AM  
Book Addicts: Discussion Questions 5 5 Jun 12, 2014 07:11PM  
Book Addicts: What do you think? 18 7 May 27, 2014 06:16AM  
The restored editions? 2 18 Jun 06, 2013 07:07AM  
  • Birthday Letters
  • The Complete Poems
  • Diving Into the Wreck
  • The Dead and the Living
  • The Wild Iris
  • The Collected Poems
  • Life Studies and For the Union Dead
  • Glass, Irony and God
  • View With a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems
  • The Country Between Us
  • The Dream Songs: Poems
  • Lunch Poems
  • And Her Soul Out Of Nothing
4379
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 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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“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.”
1080 likes
“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.”
743 likes
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