Jeremy Ra's Reviews > Ariel: The Restored Edition

Ariel by Sylvia Plath
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May 17, 12

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If all poetry strives to defy expectations, Plath certainly is the nemesis of clichés. The readers of her work incessantly find themselves in breathless astonishment because of the explosive language, the surprising imageries, and the immense honesty with which she unveils her personal events and emotions (though I cannot stress enough the importance of not letting what you might have already heard about her life constrain your interpretation of her poems).

This collection shows Plath at her best, allowing her death instinct to fully exert its creative force, weaving a tale out of thin air that is at once brutal and transcendental. On occasions, vengeful and unforgiving, her poetry traverses into the territory of neglected and disdained emotions from which many have abstained, yet exactly such courage makes her a compelling figure, as she has memorialized even the darker sides of life.

Although her perfectionist tendencies and unfortunate circumstances drove her to self-destruct, her poetry resounds authoritatively with an urge for life, rather than death, and her struggle to rediscover its beauty by any means possible.

The Restored Edition affirms this most undeniably by placing the poems in their original order, according to which the collection starts with “love” and ends with “spring.”
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message 1: by Pauline (new)

Pauline Shafer Excellent discussion of Plath and her poetry. Your caution to read the work with as little exposure to biographical work is one I shall be wrestling for days. I write poetry and Plath had profound impact on my use of langage and my intention as I write. My daughter, now a young woman, is rediscovering Plath after many years of exposure to her work as it was scattered about the house. She recently said she wanted to read one of the biographies. So I was looking over some of them here to jar imy memory. But now I am feeling reluctant to spoil her fresh perspective as you and others have cautioned against. I have liked Ted Hughes work, as well. And it is hard not to feel his work is maligned, often due to an antagonistic approach by American journalists.


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