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The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  28,048 Ratings  ·  368 Reviews
Containing everything that celebrated poet Sylvia Plath wrote after 1956, this is one of the most comprehensive collections of her work. Edited, annotated, and with an introduction by Ted Hughes.

Author Biography:

To this day, Sylvia Plath's writings continue to inspire and provoke. Her only published novel, The Bell Jar, remains a classic of American literature, and The Co

351 pages
Published (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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“Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
and I eat men like air.”
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
Jan 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: partially-read
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 (I apologize for writing in outdated youthful urban slang, but I was bored and thought it might "spice up" these less-than-mediocre reviews.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
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Angel Erin

I really enjoyed reading Sylvia Plath's poetry. Ever since I read The Bell Jar (and then googled Sylvia and learned more about her) I have been fascinated by her life and her work. I also loved her book of unabridged journals. So when I saw there was a book of her poetry I just had to buy it and read it.

Sylvia Plath's writing is just so addicting. Everything flows beautifully and I just loved so many of these poems. I had such a great time reading this boo
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeremy Allan
Jan 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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
Oct 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never really liked poetry, so I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book when I first started it, but after reading this collection my feelings have really changed. Sylvia Plath is a very powerful poet, who can turn an ordinary experience into a thunderstorm of emotions. For example, in her poem "Cut" she writes about cutting her thumb while cooking. While this sounds mundane, her choice of words and tempo make a hauntingly beautiful poem. In my favorite poem in the book, "Lady Lazaru ...more
Jason Lilly
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Eli Phillips
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 :)
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
Oct 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Mar 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Among the Narcissi

Spry, wry, and gray as these March sticks,
Percy bows, in his blue peajacket, among the narcissi.
He is recuperating from something on the lung.

The narcissi, too, are bowing to some big thing :
It rattles their stars on the green hill where Percy
Nurses the hardship of his stitches, and walks and walks.

There is a dignity to this; there is a formality-
The flowers vivid as bandages, and the man mending.
They bow and stand : they suffer such attacks!

And the octogenarian loves the littl
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Mme. Bookling ~
Jun 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes please. This is a fabulous collection of all MzPlath's work. Lady Lazurus is my favorite by far. Shall I list it here? Well, ok.

Lady Lazarus
I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it-----

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?-------

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave c
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Colossus: This is pretty goth. Many of the poems are at least partly about nature/the outdoors, but often have a sinister/melancholy vibe/aura, depending on how you feel/who you are. Faves: Spinster, Black Rook, Hardcastle Crag, Disquieting Muses, Ghost's Leavetaking, Lorelei, Green Rock Winthrop Bay, The Bull of Bendylaw, The Eye Mote (last stanza), Poem for a Birthday.

Crossing the Water: Couple love poems in this one? Faves: Stillborn, Two Campers in Cloud County, Love Letter, A Life, Parliame
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sylvia Plath has long been one of my favorite poets and I am glad I finally got her collected works. I read a handful of these in college, "Daddy" and "Metaphors," but those did not really give me a feel for Plath as an artist. My respect for her has grown even more. She is more complex than I have previously thought. Many of the poems I do not understand and look forward to learning more about interpreting them when I start grad school. But the ones I do get grab at me like a choke hold. "Lady ...more
Mai Mostafa
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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've a call."


- Tulips
- Elm
- Ariel
- Lady Lazarus
- Edge

(didn't quite like the juvenilia section, but Plath is brilliant and her writing feels like starvation)
Saru (Queen of Bookland)
this took me way too long to read, but it was absolutely beautiful.
Dec 19, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2017, female-books
Camino a solas;
La calle a medianoche
Se prolonga bajo mis pies;
Cuando cierro los ojos
Todas estas casas de ensueño se extinguen:
Por un capricho mío
La cebolla celestial de la luna cuelga en lo alto
De los hastiales.
Hago que las casas se encojan
Y que los árboles mengüen
Alejándose; la traílla de mi mirada
Hace bailar a las personas-marionetas
Que, ignorando que se consumen,
Se ríen, se besan, se emborrachan, sin sospechar
Igualmente que, cada vez que yo parpadeo,

Cuando estoy de buen
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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 about Sylvia Plath...

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“Eternity bores me,
I never wanted it.

From the poem "Years", 16 November 1962”
“I lean to you, numb as a fossil. Tell me I'm here.” 628 likes
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