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Winter Trees

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,063 ratings  ·  81 reviews
The poems in this collection were all written in the last nine months of Sylvia Plath's life, and form part of the group from which the 'Ariel' poems were chosen. Her radio play 'Three Women', also included here, was written slightly earlier, in the transitional period between 'The Colossus' and 'Ariel'.
Unknown Binding, 55 pages
Published 1975 by Not Avail (first published September 1st 1972)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Steven Godin
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short collection of nineteen poems, which were all but one, written in the months leading up to Plath's untimely death. Most are darkly exquisite, and sit alongside some of her other collections in terms of quality. Only a couple were weak, but that's no big deal. Some poems had a disturbingly strong vibe, like that of those in both 'Collosus' & 'Ariel', whilst the title poem 'Winter Trees, is a fight between the dark and the light. 'Child' (featured below), make of it what you will, was a poe ...more
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the rabbit catcher
Recommended to Mariel by: Sean
And so I stand, a little sightless. So I walk
Away on wheels, instead of legs, they serve as well.
And learn to speak with fingers, not a tongue.
The body is resourceful.
The body of a starfish can grow back its arms
And newts are prodigal in legs. And may I be
As prodigal in what lacks me.

The second voice is beautiful, not hopeless....
The third voice is a wound. She leaves behind, the white skin after a bandage. Hospital beds, pats on back. Self administered and administration. Ministrations
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-and-4-5-stars
4.5 Stars.

I didn't love this as much as the last Sylvia Plath work I read, which was Crossing the Water but, of course, her writing is still stunning and her poems still amazing. This collection just has not stuck to me quite like her other.

Obviously, still read this; I know I will be again.
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Sylvia Plath's poems are so vivid, haunting, and absolutely gorgeous. *goosebumps*
Eve Kay
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Many of these I had already come across somewhere and still love Plath dearly. Three Women, of course, is a work of a mastermind. I need to read all her work again at some point and I know I'll find new aspects, new opinions, new ideas. I'll learn something new again.
Nathalie (keepreadingbooks)
My go-to poet (and frankly, my spirit animal) is usually Mary Oliver. Her poetry is - in lack of words that convey the meaning but have more gravitas - simple and accessible. Sylvia Plath’s poetry is no such thing. It took me a couple of days to read the entire collection just because my mind had to work so hard at each poem. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think I prefer to understand poetry a little quicker than I did these. A nice middle ground is the collection The Wild Gods by Ma ...more
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2017-reads
I hold my fingers up, ten white pickets.
See, the darkness is leaking from the cracks.
I cannot contain it. I cannot contain my life.
Jul 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: booksread2010, poetry
This slim collection contains poems by the late Sylvia Plath which were written during the last nine months of her life. They are hailed to be the most revealing and enigmatic of her works which document the simultaneous mourning and celebration of the human condition.

It is hard to read a Plath poem without taking her life into consideration. While most poets write with pen and ink, you get a sense that Plath went one step further and wrote from the blood. Plath had a dark gift, a way of tapping
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have read Sylvia Plath's beautiful Winter Trees several times, and picked it up again over the Easter holidays. These poems were all written within the last nine months of her life. As always with poetry collections, I have collected together a few of my favourite excerpts or fragments from some of these stunning poems.

- From 'The Rabbit Catcher':
'I tasted the malignity of the gorse,
Its black spikes,
The extreme unction of its yellow candle-flowers.
They had an efficiency, a great beauty,
And wer
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, vintage
Excerpt from Three Women

I have had my chances. I have tried and tried.
I have stitched life into me like a rare organ.
And walked carefully, precariously, like something rare.
I have tried not to think too hard. I have tried to be natural.
I have tried to be blind in love, like other women,
Blind in my bed, with my dear blind sweet one,
Not looking, through the thick dark, for the face of another.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this down until I finished every word.
Konstantin R.
[rating = B]
Sylvia Plath is very popular in certain circles and, also, in general (for different reasons of course). Although I admire her bravery and her unique voice, I also disliked her inclination towards metaphor (especially as it is usually expansive). There were poems here that really moved me and others that lost me. I will say, she has a wonderful sense of self, but can disguise it rather well. The last long poem (in the voices of three women who give birth, all with different thoughts
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
A fine collection from one of the greats. So many of these poems really do show the devastation and heartbreak from her divorce, ongoing battle with depression, and the uncertainty of being a mother. Difficult to read at times, but just so powerful.

Childless Woman

The womb
Rattles its pod, the moon
Discharges itself from the tree with nowhere to go.

My landscape is a hand with no lines,
The roads bunched to a knot,
The knot myself,

Myself the rose you acheive---
This body,
This ivory

Ungodly as a child's
Daniel Polansky
Bitter and engaging.
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe that these poems were not included in the Ariel collection, rather printed here in Winter Trees, although they were written at the same time. Each time I read any of these poems I am reminded of moments as a lover, a mother, and a female friend that I have felt emotions that are not easily admitted to. Not easily admitted to, and often difficult to put words to. Sylvia Plath puts words to these, sometimes clearly, directly, and sometimes in a watery, roundabout way. Winter Trees is an ...more
Marwa Abdeen
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
This review can also be found on my blog, Unapologetic Writer.

The musings that Sylvia Plath may have lived in a soul similar to mine have been a thought entertained for a while now. I have just finished my first read by her, and I’ve come to a few conclusions that I felt inclined to share.
1. Sylvia is a masterpiece of sadness and all its manifestations.

In case you didn’t know, Sylvia committed suicide after a long battle with depression after having been treated several times with electroconvul
Ellie Rose McKee
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Usually, when poetry is vague (intentionally or not) I find it difficult to enjoy let alone connect with and cherish. That wasn't the case here.
Here, in this book, I know that there are so many things going on underneath the surface of each word that I could never fully grasp, but my inability to grasp at such things hasn't taken away from my experience.
This poetry is beautifully written, because it's been deeply felt by its author and I think that's why I love it so much.
Heather Bell
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Winter Trees is so personal and raw that I almost feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to read it. Plath toyed with darker themes and morbid concepts in her earlier works but everything was still slightly suppressed. This collection feels like Plath is no longer writing for anyone other than her self. The words are genuine. The pain is palpable. This is Plath’s Magnum Opus.
Tessa in North Florida
Dec 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: awards-classics
Ick. Violent and disturbing, bitter words of women's angst, especially those who are fighting their own sexuality. She has talent, but unfortunately, it is turned to despair and paranoia and rejection.
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
'Three Women', and 'Lesbos' are standouts - perspective, building of a character in such short spaces...'Mary's Song' is haunting.
Elke Sisco
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't understand half of her poems, and wonder how it is that I like her as a poet - and then I get to Three Women, and every single word is just perfect, and I GET IT.
Rachel Coleman
Jan 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Safe to say I won't be trying Plath's poetry again.
Kike Ramos
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
English / Spanish

So this is a collection of poems by Sylvia Plath, and I gotta say it is an example of why I don't read a lot of poetry. It's not bad, but I'm not that good at getting metaphors in another language, so this was a hard read for me. I don't think I got the ideas she tried to transmit. The few poems that I understood were really smart, and you could feel the dark emotions she felt while writing them. It's a shame that I had a hard time reading it.

On the other side, the book had spa
Madam J
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I am familiar with Plath's The Bell Jar and count it among my favourites. This was my first encounter with her poetry, and I wasn't thrilled. Except that one time I was.

The work is dark, reflective of the period leading up to her death, and at times feels disjointed. It's not unrelatable material, but it pushes the envelope of getting into the right headspace to appreciate it.

I liked enough of the pieces to warrant three stars. I disliked enough of the pieces that it barely warranted three stars
Demi van Doorn
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Favoriet! Eentje om te laten tatoeëren 😝

'And there is no end, no end of it.
I shall never grow old. New oysters
Shriek in the sea and I
Glitter like Fountainbleau'

'The air is a mill of hooks - - -
Questions without answer,
Glittering and drunk as flies
Whose kiss stings unbearably
In the fetid wombs of black air under pines in summer.'

'But right now you are dumb.
And I love your stupidity,
The blind mirror of it. I look in
And find no face but my own, and you think that's funny.
It is good for me'

'And I, l
Marshall A Lewis
This was not my favourite collection of poems by Plath. Many of them had imagery that felt jarring in a way that was not appealing to me. There were plenty of good images and wording throughout, but not enough to draw me in. Her poems in this one also felt mostly abstract or opaque to me in ways I didn’t connect to them. My favourite two which were not the norm for this collection where:

The courage of shutting-up
For a fatherless son
Luis A
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite poets. While this was not her best work, it was still a really good collection. Full of dark, confessional, metaphor-rich poetry, Sylvia Plath tackles womanhood, marriage, and motherhood with depth and style. Her vocabulary is huge, her imagery is vivid, and her creativity is astonishing. Really cool stuff.
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Bought this bilingual edition from France for a souvenir to improve my French, to get both versions to read side by side. "I am vertical" is my all time favourite... Some of her poems are so heavy - I can feel the gravity of her eyelids.
Donald Armfield
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A compiled collection of poems from Plath. Was looking for some poetry to read at the library. Last minute grab, someone said can’t go wrong with Plath.
-The Detective
Jawwad Zafar
Aug 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
Maybe I shouldn't have began first reading Sylvia Plath with this book, but then again it has to be a bit good to me isn't it? I won't quit on her just now, I'll try her other books. But this one didn't resonate with me at all.
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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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“I shall move north. I shall move into a long blackness.
I see myself as a shadow, neither man nor woman,
Neither woman, happy to be like a man, nor a man
Blunt and flat enough to feel no lack. I feel a lack.
I hold my fingers up, ten white pickets.
See, the darkness is leaking from the cracks.
I cannot contain it. I cannot contain my life.”
“And so I stand, a little sightless. So I walk
Away on wheels, instead of legs, they serve as well.
And learn to speak with fingers, not a tongue.
The body is resourceful.”
More quotes…