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The Colossus and Other Poems

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,117 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
With this startling, exhilarating book of poems, which was first published in 1960, Sylvia Plath burst into literature with spectacular force. In such classics as "The Beekeeper's Daughter," "The Disquieting Muses," "I Want, I Want," and "Full Fathom Five," she writes about sows and skeletons, fathers and suicides, about the noisy imperatives of life and the chilly hunger ...more
Paperback, 84 pages
Published May 19th 1998 by Vintage Books (first published 1960)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Steve
May 28, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rob Zombie, David Lynch
Shelves: poetry
The Colossus is the coldest collection of summer poetry you will ever read. I’m certain this paradox was intentional. Moles, maggots, cadavers, suicides, dead snakes, dead things in the surf, dead things on the shore, dead things out in the water, etc. There were times I was bit numbed out by all that dead stuff. For the first third of the collection, I initially felt the influence of Robert Lowell to be obvious in some of the poems (“Point Shirley,” “Hardcastle Crags”). Now I’m not so sure. Yes ...more
Brent Legault
May 02, 2012 Brent Legault rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the thin people, all the dead dears
Perhaps I shouldn't have tried to read The Colossus all at once. It's had, it's had an, it's made me. . . I'm sorry, I have to sit down and start again.

Perhaps I shouldn't have tried to read The Colossus all at once. The poems are too rich, too sensual and filling. It was like trying to eat a plateful of prime rib, that's been covered in dark chocolate and deep fried. Delicious, but.

And all the hard words! I don't mean hard like palustral is hard, as in hard to understand because I'd never befo
...more
Jamie
Mar 21, 2010 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2010
Poor Colossus. I've never given the collection much credit; like many, I was rather blinded by the incandescence of the Ariel poems, and tended to think of this book as a sort of worksheet preparing for those late poems. But that isn't an entirely fair assessment. Sure, some of the poems here feel like drafts for what would come later ("Man In Black" seems to predict "Medusa," "Moonrise" feels like the exercise that enabled her to write "Blackberrying"), and some seem a bit too stiflingly in the ...more
Rhonda
Jun 23, 2015 Rhonda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Connie  Kuntz
Jul 20, 2012 Connie Kuntz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think it's a wonderful thing to slow down and read Plath's poetry. She's such a convincing, thorough writer. Her sense of humor is so unique and slow. I'm not sure the world will ever stop mourning her death. Everybody already knows Plath was a brilliant writer, so I won't spend too much time writing a review. Instead, here are a couple excerpts:

From "Mushrooms":

"We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door."

Funny, yes?

Plus, she has a remarkable ability to write sensuously a
...more
Katie Dreyer
Jul 25, 2009 Katie Dreyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have this book on your bedside table for those lonely, stormy nights when you want to hide underneath your covers and read something dark and meaningful. Sylvia's a beautiful writer - there's no denying I'm a fan. I like that we get to see inside her nightmares, and subsequently, our own. My copy of this collection is filled with annotations in the margins, creased pages, and wear and tear from constant use. Many of the poems are plain out disturbing and you're not going to get a 'feel good' exp ...more
Matt
Apr 15, 2009 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Prime rib covered in dark chocolate"? "Comes from the darkest crevices of herself"? Shudder... It's sentiments like these which contribute to our culture's overwhelming indifference (perhaps even resentment)towards poetry. Poetry isn't wussy, it's not some superfluous thing which can only be grasped by the suicidal-chic. Plath's poetry is frankly, a lot more than that. Yes, there's pain. There is some death. But there's also tranquility, poignancy,and, more times than not, a hell of a lot of hu ...more
Giedre
Apr 14, 2015 Giedre rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm surprised I didn't care for the Colossus poems much. They felt really over-worked to me.
Mohammed
Nov 01, 2013 Mohammed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plath is a writer i knew very little about beforehand but reading her poetry and the brilliant way she puts words together she is the type of poet I prefer. Style, wordsmith poet over poets about social ,political content or those that write playing literary games of writing difficult poems that just put words together.

This collection i impulse bought because of her reputation as a poet and didnt know it was her first published book of poems. Its truly shocking,freaky to me that she could have r
...more
Jenna
"The Colossus," from what I understand, was Plath's first published collection of poetry. During this early phase of Plath's career, she still treated the act of writing poetry as a laborious and painstaking process, often diligently looking up words in the thesaurus and then inserting many synonyms of one word into a single composition. This rather pedantic attitude toward poetry shows in these poems, many of which devoutly adhere to difficult rhyme schemes (albeit frequently using slant rhymes ...more
Greg Z
Oct 24, 2015 Greg Z rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The only way I could tell if Plath had ended a poem is when there was considerable blank space after the last line. And when a poem did indeed reach the last printable line on an odd-numbered page, it was only when I turned the page that I discovered if a poem had ended, or not. One can switch verses around, retitle them any ol' way, print everything backwards, whatever. As the "genius-with-word-and-song" Kurt Cobain famously begged, "Here we are now, entertain us." But to Plath, no doubt, he wa ...more
N.
Feb 05, 2016 N. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-read, 2016
3.5
I didn't really understand too many of the poems to be honest. I'm not good at analyzing stanzas and I mainly create my own interpretation once I read a poem.
Overall, the poems I did understand, I reread them several times over
Regardless, the writing was beautiful, and I certainly wouldn't know how to create poignant stories in limited phrases.
Isabelle
Not going to rate this.

I need to go back and just soak up the meaning of each of the poems. :)
AHMED ADEL SALAMA
One or two poems are quite good,
the others are utterly tedious!
Elizabeth
Jan 11, 2015 Elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women
Poetry is difficult.
Sheida
Nov 22, 2015 Sheida rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I insist on reading poetry when I know that it's just not for me. I didn't enjoy this book at all, to be honest. I think I only liked 2 or 3 of the many poems this included and I would have given it one star if it wasn't my own fault and my own complete lack of understanding where poetry is concerned wasn't to blame.
Shannon
Nov 03, 2015 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It would take more than a lightning-stroke to create such a ruin"

Plath's The Colossus & Other Poems was a great Halloween night read. Dark, twisty, & earthy. Imagine what she could've written if she'd spent a little longer on this earth.
Brenda
Jun 23, 2013 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
Me podrían torturar hasta la muerte y yo seguiría gritándole al mundo, hasta exhalar mi último suspiro, que El coloso es mil veces mejor que Ariel. Esta Sylvia sí que me gusta. Me gusta y de verdad. ¿Y sabéis que me gusta también? su "A Ted" en la primera página.

«Entre cipreses
me siento y el acanto de tu pelo

y tus huesos estriados se penetran
de su antigua anarquía hasta el borde
del horizonte. Crear tanta ruina
requiere más que un rayo. Por la noche
me agazapo en tu oreja, contra el viento,

contand
...more
K.m.
Jan 07, 2013 K.m. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Plath is a poet more to be admired than loved. At times she leaves a crack to look through, displays her vulnerability, but so much of what she writes feels overly academic, overly composed, overly self-conscious. Poetry seems a scholarly exercise, rather than an expression of feeling to her. That said, 'On the Difficulty of Conjuring up a Dryad' and 'Black Rook in Rainy Weather' are beautiful exceptions.

"No doubt now in dream-propertied fall some moon-eyed,/ star-lucky sleight-of-hand man watc
...more
Sheri Struk
I haven't read a book of poetry since perhaps high school. (And, I picked this book up to fulfill a requirement that I read a "Staff Pick" for my library's adult summer reading program.) I wasn't very impressed by Plath's work though I know she is quite famous in the world of poetry. I just didn't have the patience to delve into the meaning of the poetry. Her imagery, at times, was fascinating but I found the topics of the poems (nature, love, death, etc.) to be fairly dry. It will probably be a ...more
Frank Terry
So, I've started this collection several times this year and just now finished it after starting it over again yesterday. I've always actually meant to read Sylvia Plath's poetry instead of just knowing it existed - I didn't really know what to expect.

I don't want to pretend to understand anything that I just read - these poems are obviously extremely dense and deep and are super unlike what I'm used to.

I'm really looking forward to finding and then reading some good critical accounts of this
...more
Adriana Scarpin
Aug 11, 2015 Adriana Scarpin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, inglesa, poesia
The Colossus

I shall never get you put together entirely,
Pieced, glued, and properly jointed.
Mule-bray, pig-grunt and bawdy cackles
Proceed from your great lips.
It's worse than a barnyard.
Perhaps you consider yourself an oracle,
Mouthpiece of the dead, or of some god or
other.
Thirty years now I have labored
To dredge the silt from your throat.
I am none the wiser.

Scaling little ladders with glue pots and pails
of lysol
I crawl like an ant in mourning
Over the weedy acres of your brow
To mend the immens
...more
Rachel
Jul 04, 2010 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my mind, Sylvia Plath cannot be challenged by any other poet. Acerbic, clean and unerringly modern, she has very little in common with those she is often filed away with- Dorothy Parker, Anne Sexton, and even Edna St. Vincent Millay. That's not to say that those ladies aren't great in their own right (I own most of their poetry); it's just that Sylvia is, in my opinion, different. Each read produces a new level of understanding- revisiting this book will never get old.
Claudia Nugent
Feb 26, 2014 Claudia Nugent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I always make the mistake of reading Sylvia Plath too indulgently. I plunge into the pages gluttonously. I linger there.

I forget the impact until I emerge. I am eroded, hollowed out. I feel tired.

I go back and read again. I let the poems so pithy and lasting fill me completely. My body weeps at its seams and aches, aches.

I can't decide whether I love her or hate her. I think, an ineffable combination of both. (I love her. I don't want to.)
Ronnie
#41: Un libro de un escritor que nunca hayas leído antes.

1,5/5 porque meh.

Tenia muchas ansias de leer a Plath pero este libro no lleno mis expectativas y ni siquiera me hizo sentir algo en concreto y eso es raro.
Cuando leo, especialmente poesía, siento cualquier emoción y aquí realmente no sentí ni aburrimiento. Me dio la sensación de ser muy plano y vacío, no transmite nada.
Freesiab
Aug 21, 2014 Freesiab rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I'm not a scholar or an expert on poetry, I'll just give you my thoughts. I'll just say it, this wasn't my favorite Plath collection for an undefinable reason. There were many poems I loved. I also recognized that she was drawing from the world around her. Like Mushroooms, which I loved. Her vocabulary and cadence combined often caused me to reread passages to make sure I understood them. She clearly stands apart in her art. I read the book twice, often there would be lines slipped in here ...more
Rita
Mar 09, 2015 Rita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Se calhar devia ter lido este antes do Ariel, para o poder apreciar como deve de ser. Ou então se o tivesse lido primeiro nunca teria lido o Ariel porque não me teria despertado o interesse suficiente.
dde qualquer maneira, embora sejam bons poemas, com um ou outro selecto a chegar às cinco estrelas, e mais uns quantos às quatro, não consigp dar a este livro mais de três estrelas. A razão que dou a mim mesma é que, quando acabei de ler o Ariel voltei para trás e tive de reler os meus favoritos, ,
...more
A. E. S.
"GO, COLOSSUS!" "*FURIOUS SQUEAKING* *STOMP!*" Sorry, I had to do that. Gags aside, Plath's poetry reflects her passive-aggressive anger and bitterness at the world, with even vaguer references to the suicide she committed in 1962. House-fires, hospitals, morgues, heroic crab suicides (it's a lot less strange than it sounds), personal aggravation at having gotten a thorn stuck in her eye...you get the picture. The way Plath writes her poetry is how it "sounds" to her, and as a reader having deve ...more
Kristin
Jun 11, 2013 Kristin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Guess I am not a fan of her poems.
Steven Peterson
Jun 10, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sylvia Plath is a well reputed poet, dying at too early an age, silencing her poetic voice. This book represents one of her early works.

Her poetry is not beautiful or lyrical or elegiac. There is a hardness, almost a clinical coldness, to the verses, and some dark themes recur. And some odd poems based on intriguingly selected facts.

Of the latter. . . . A stone coffin from the 4th century AD in Cambridge (England) contains skeletons of a woman, a mouse, and a shrew. The woman's ankle bone was
...more
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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
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“Love is the bone and sinew of my curse.” 79 likes
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