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The Collected Poems

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  37,010 ratings  ·  557 reviews
The aim of the present complete edition, which contains a numbered sequence of the 224 poems written after 1956 together with a further 50 poems chosen from her pre-1956 work, is to bring Sylvia Plath's poetry together in one volume, including the various uncollected and unpublished pieces, and to set everything in as true a chronological order as is possible, so that the ...more
Hardcover, 349 pages
Published 1981 by Turtleback
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Eliot No, it does not have every one of them. The only reasonably famous one left out is "Mad Girl's Love Song", which you can read in the appendix to The B…moreNo, it does not have every one of them. The only reasonably famous one left out is "Mad Girl's Love Song", which you can read in the appendix to The Bell Jar. Honestly, if it were included, it would probably be the best poem in the "juvenilia" section.

There've been one or two other poems discovered in magazines and the like after this book was published.

It has almost every poem she published, however. If a poem isn't included in this book, it's either "Mad Girl's Love Song" or pretty obscure.(less)
Jaymee Yes, it isn't included in this collection.…moreYes, it isn't included in this collection.(less)
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“Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
and I eat men like air.”
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, 2016, poetry
Astute, ironic, and intense, Plath's poems brood over a wide range of topics, through language that's cutting in its precision. The poet's sharp intellect consistently is interesting, but her early collections read as less forceful and breathtaking than her later ones; with age, Plath moved away from the stiff but accomplished formalism of her early poetry toward a risk-taking aesthetic of the theatrical. Had she had the chance to develop that style, she likely would have fulfilled her early pro ...more
Jan 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 14, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Booze Hound
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
I keep coming back to Sylvia Plath whenever I'm trying to make sense of my own troubles. Since my troubles rarely make sense, that means I come back to this quite often.

Which is so incredibly cliched, it would normally make me cringe. I mean, its screams "I'm a damaged girl, and I read Sylvia Plath, just like all the other damaged girls!"

But I don't cringe, because ultimately, her poetry makes me feel. I have this incredibly old, earmarked and tattered edition that is full of notes in the margin
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Erin Dunn

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
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
Ruxandra (4fără15)
It was really interesting to read so many of Sylvia’s poems chronologically, and too see her find a voice of her own over the years. While I have to say that most of the poems she wrote before 1959 either bored or puzzled me, as she used very complicated syntax and overembellished them – which resulted in nothing more than a collection of vague and highly impersonal lines –, it was well worth reading this volume for what followed. I mean, here’s her last poem:

The woman is perfected.
Her dead

May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
It really does not get much better than Sylvia Plath.
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Biblimythological poetry
composed by looking-glass fingertips that reveal,
reflect the gothic in her-you-me. Her Hermes
emasculated, molting
while molding her soul, bound as 'collected'
but rather selected "to laud such man's blood!"

Self-proclaimed editor or profaned self-redactor?
Only the Hughes-abused knows.

Regardless, blessed is the reader of her meter,
her versed verse.
Each word ablution's evolution to transmogrify the mind
from angelic bog to morbid garden,
or vice versa,
Jason Lilly
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
Kevin Shepherd
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, classics, own
By her own admission, Sylvia Plath rarely discarded a poem. Even if they were, in her eyes, imperfect, she accumulated them. For this we should all be grateful. Poetry as an art form can be rather subjective and artists, even those as gifted as Plath, can drift in and out of style. By presenting her work chronologically and without culling you can viscerally feel her growing as a poet. At the beginning of this collection I was wondering what all the fuss was about, and by the end I could barely ...more
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The hills step off into whiteness
People or stars
Regard me sadly, I disappoint them.

The train leaves a line of breath.
O slow
Horse the color of rust,

Hooves, dolorous bells--
All morning the
Morning has been blackening,

A flower left out.
My bones hold a stillness, the far
Fields melt my heart.

They threaten
To let me through to a heaven
Starless and fatherless, a dark water."

-- "Sheep in Fog"
Eli Phillips
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 :)
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
E. G.
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Poems 1956-1963

--Conversation Among the Ruins
--Winter Landscape, with Rocks
--Tale of a Tub
--Southern Sunrise
--Channel Crossing
--The Queen's Complaint
--Ode for Ted
--Song for a Summer's Day
--Two Sisters of Persephone
--Vanity Fair
--Strumpet Song
--Tinker Jack and the Tidy Wives
--Street Song
--Letter to a Purist
--Soliloquy of the Solipsist
--Dialogue Between Ghost and Priest
--The Glutton
--Monologue at 3 a.m.
--Miss Drake Proceeds to Supper
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
David J
May 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Review to come.
Ева Нешкоска
"I think I made you up inside my head." ✨ ...more
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Sylvia.

some favorites
+Tale Of A Tub
+Two Sisters of Persephone
+Vanity Fair
+Street Song
+On The Plethora of Dryads
+The Colossus
+Poem For A Birthday #6 - Witch Burning
+The Rival
+The Other
+Lady Lazarus
+Edge (her last work)

Unlike a lot of other reviewers, I greatly enjoyed her earlier works. Also loved the insights, notes, and juvenilia in the back of the book.
Oct 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Roman Clodia
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'I rise with my red hair | and I eat men like air'

This volume of Plath's poems embodies all the controversies about the Plath-Hughes poetic relationship and the struggle for possession of her legacy: Hughes tops and tails the poetry itself with his introduction and appendices, framing it via his own words, and also reorganises the poems by date of writing, rather than in the collections that Plath herself might have intended.

None of that, of course, takes away from the poetry itself which is dif
Jan 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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. ...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 parall ...more

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