Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ariel” as Want to Read:
Ariel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ariel

by
4.22  ·  Rating details ·  51,602 ratings  ·  1,728 reviews
"Sylvia Plath's last poems have impressed themselves on many readers with the force of myth. They are among the handful of writings by which future generations will seek to know us and give us a name."—The Critical Quarterly

"One of the most marvelous volumes of poetry published for a very long time."—The Times Literary Supplement

Paperback, 85 pages
Published 1965 by Harper & Row
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ariel, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Louisa Loli This is a Year 11 and 12 book for IB Literature, the language might be little complicated for young children.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  51,602 ratings  ·  1,728 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Ariel
Paul Bryant
Inspired by Paul Legault's brilliant idea of translating Emily Dickinson's poems into English, I thought immediately - I have to steal that idea. So here are some of the Ariel poems of Sylvia Plath translated into English. I have, of course, tried my utmost to perform this task with tact, discretion and good taste.

ARIEL TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH

ELM.

Look, let's get this straight. I am a tree, you are a woman. We can never be together, not in the way you'd like, anyway. Plus, you're kind of irritati
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Ariel, Sylvia Plath

Ariel was the second book of Sylvia Plath's poetry to be published. It was originally published in 1965, two years after her death by suicide. The poems in the 1965 edition of Ariel, with their free flowing images and characteristically menacing psychic landscapes, marked a dramatic turn from Plath's earlier Colossus poems.

Contents (1965 version):
"Morning Song"
"The Couriers"
"Sheep in Fog"
"The Applicant"
"Lady Lazarus"
"Tulips"
"Cut"
"Elm"
"The Night Dances"
"Poppies in October"
"Ber
...more
Manny
When I was a kid, I loved stories about intrepid explorers who visited places no one had ever seen before, and died heroically in the attempt. I guess Scott of the Antarctic is the canonical example - though later on, I discovered to my surprise that Norwegians just think he was an idiot who didn't prepare carefully, and that Amundsen was the real hero. There is a wonderful episode in Jan Kjærstad's Erobreren which contrasts the English and Norwegian views of these two great men.

So what's this g
...more
Dolors
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Exotic Birds
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2014
Either disturbed by some haunting, otherworldly presence or simply because of the purring birdsong I awake on the early hours of this winter morning and I grab Sylvia Plath’s collection of poems Ariel, which is calling to me from my bedside table. Still drowsy with soft shades of silky sheets printed on my cheeks my glassy eyes try to focus on stray words that chop like sharpened axes. Streams of unleashed running waters wash over me but fail to cleanse my soul. I am unsettled. Disturbing images ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Haunting and honest - a scalpel that cuts so deep and quick you don't even feel it.
Duane
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What do I think? I honestly don't know. My favorite poems were Elm, The Moon and the Yew Tree, and Edge. I admit that Sylvia Plath's poetry may be beyond my ability to fullly understand. I have The Collected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982, on my to-read shelf. Maybe the more I read the better I will understand. There is an aura about Sylvia Plath that I find fascinating. Her writing is so unique, so different from anything else, you can't help being drawn to it, like a moth to a fla ...more
Tara
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Cold glass, how you insert yourself
Between myself and myself.
I scratch like a cat.”

These poems are jagged, visceral, and very, very raw. They’re angry and bruised, “extravagant, like torture.” And they are frequently charged with a dark, mirthless laughter. After all, “there is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.” Or so Camus once said.

As a total poetry novice, I might be way off base with some of my impressions—I didn’t even come close to understanding everything I read. But I do k
...more
7jane
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection released two years after her death, written in a grand burst of creativity just before death... I had to get this mainly because of the cover, but I can say that though I have the 'all poems' book, having this separately was worth it.

...And I a smiling woman
I am only thirty.
And like that cat I have nine times to die.
..
(from "Lady Lazarus")

There are so many themes I could get from here: colors (red, white, black, etc.), moods (uncertainty, calm, quiet joy, being distant), and subject
...more
Samadrita
It probably won't be right to draw comparisons between the Sylvia Plath who wrote Mad Girl's Love Song during her time at Smith's and the Sylvia Plath of Ariel. There's a world of difference between a Sylvia merely mourning lost love and a bitter, lonesome, vengeful, depressed Sylvia trying to live out the last vestiges of a tumultuous life by seeking a form of catharsis through these poems. And, indeed, a very personal set of poems these are.
It took me a while to get through this book not only
...more
Steven Godin
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: america, poetry
Stunned.

Destroyed.

Took the wind out of my sails,

and the light out of my eyes.

Not wanting to curse but fuck me! could she write!

As for "Daddy" what heart crushing despair.
Asghar Abbas
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I picked this up last night, wanting to read just one poem, The Moon and the Yew Tree specifically, but I ended up reading all of them, the entire book. I won't pretend to understand what most of her poems were about, but they left me in goosebumps and ashiver. I enjoyed them.

What a mind, what a mind. Utterly glorious. Bane of her existence and yet because of its blackness she still exists today.

Sublime work.

I wish she had written more novels too. Her poetic prose and timings are undeniable.

R
...more
Whitney Atkinson
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'm wanting to get into more poetry, but I have to classify books of poetry in two categories: poems I understood, and poems I didn't. The majority of these poems went over my head.

I saw in a previous review that Plath writes very personally, which I suppose is what went wrong here. There were so many abstract references and just being plain honest, 80% of these poems I just had no clue what she was trying to communicate, other than the fact that she wanted to die.
Although I didn't grasp most
...more
GTF
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A groundbreaking collection of poetry that showcases Plath's breathtaking expression and imagination. Although dark in subject matter, Plath does not repel the reader's interest, but rather appeals to the morbid curiosity by using vivid imagery, with words and sentences arranged melodically. It is easy to see why 'Ariel' became one of the most popular and talked about poetry collections of the twentieth century.
Lotte
My favourite poems out of this collection: Lady Lazarus, Tulips and Death & Co. ...more
Sara
This was very up and down. A lot of the poems went right over my head, but a few I enjoyed, including Lady Lazarus, The Rival and The Moon and the Yew Tree. Of them all, I think Lady Lazarus had the most ‘pull’ in that it’s quite deeply emotive in its portrayal of wanting to be dead and the mixture of emotions that comes with this. It was very personal, and there’s no doubt Sylvia Plath has a way with words. For that poem alone, I pulled this up to three stars.

I’m just not sure that for the mos
...more
Connie G
The restored edition of Ariel is the group of poems that Sylvia Plath left as a manuscript at the time of her death by suicide in 1963. The originally published Ariel was edited by her former husband, Ted Hughes, who substituted some of her other poems written in the last months of her life. The forward by their daughter, Frieda Hughes, discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each grouping of poems, trying to be fair to each parent.

The poems in Ariel are brilliant and powerful, but often sad,
...more
Renee Godding
"I know the bottom, she says. I know it
with my great tap root:
It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there..."


5/5 stars

Sylvia Plath has been, and probably always will be, a poet whom words hits me harder than many others’ ever will. Many of the poems in this collection are very familiar to me: I’ve shed tears over them, adored them, resented them, analyzed them to death and absorbed their every message in my heart over the course of years now. However, this was my first time rea
...more
Ammar
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: female-authors
Definitely contain some of the best poems by Sylvia Plath. The one I most enjoyed was Lady Lazarus.

Edward
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2018
Sylvia Plath had a way of rendering things mysterious and disturbing, compelling you to read each poem again and again to unlock the meaning. Compared to The Colossus, Ariel feels a little more mature, a little less concerned with the world, and a lot more fixated on death, specifically, suicide. These beautiful poems are sometimes difficult to read.
Sam
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of my favorites: The Rival, Cut, The Hanging Man, Balloons, and Poppies in July
"By the roots of my hair some god got hold of me.
I sizzled in his blue volts like a desert prophet."

A posthumous collection of Sylvia Plath's poetry that I felt contained numerous works that exposed her inner demons before her death. I found that many poems created feelings of desperation, urgency, and hopelessness. Still, there are a few poems in this collection that I do not understand and can't interpret af
...more
Magdalen
Dying
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.


The most accurate thing about Ariel has been said "In these poems Plath becomes herself"

I fear that I cannot be objective when I am writing (or talking) about Sylvia Plath because she speaks directly to my heart. I can relate to her poems, I can feel them.
Sylvia Plath is raw, brutal and bitter. That's a fact I suppose, right? But you see
...more
Mary
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, poetry
This is Sylvia. Purging.

Hushed and frantic and brutal.

Written during the last months of her life…her peak was so so beautiful. Tragic.
Zanna
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
(gorgeous, like 6 stars of gorgeous

2 stars lost for outrageously gratuitous use of racial slur and wtf use of the holocaust as symbolic of personal family relationship)
Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)
A collection of poetry written by Plath before she took her own life, Ariel was at times a confusing yet interesting read. I have previously studied a few poems included here in my old English Literature class (Lady Lazarus/Daddy) critically yet wasn't sure whether I could read more of Plath's work. The overall mood was one of strong depression and after reading this, I did feel depressed for a while. Sometimes a little rambly, others a little heartbreaking. Very on the fence about this one. 3 s ...more
Chris_P
I am inhabited by a cry.
Nightly, it flaps out
Looking, with its hooks, for something to love

I opened it just to get a glimpse, only an idea of Sylvia Plath's poetry and man, was I hooked! Her words grabbed me by the neck and dragged me all the way, intoxicating me with bitterness, irony and hard-boiled truth. At times I'd get this feeling of "age", this smell of a time before the 20th century, and then I'd come across a poem like Lesbos and receive the "slap-in-the-face" treatment. It was a j
...more
Satyajeet
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The short length of the book and seeming simplicity - a woman rides her horse through the countryside - is belied by the incredible amount of attention given to it. For it explores far more than a simple daybreak ride. The use of dazzling imagery, vivid emotional resonance, historical and biblical allusions, and a breathtaking sense of movement, explores several different subjects, including - poetic creativity; sexuality; animism; suicide and death; self-realization and self-transformation; and ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, classic
Sylvia Plath was a truly gifted author, as reflected in each one of these evocative poems. Though my favorite book of hers is still The Bell Jar, Ariel is still a great one. ...more
Michael
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It feels like Sylvia Plath’s life overshadowed her literary value; her autobiographical novel The Bell Jar was like a confessional and people tend to read it for all the juicy bits. Ariel is a collection of poems published posthumously, just a few years after her suicide. It is true that we have Plath to think for advancing the confessional poetry form and exploring topics previously taboo like suicide, mental illness and domestic abuse.

I would like to thank Meg Wolitzer’s book Belzhar for pushi
...more
Vanessa
3.5 stars

I find poetry hard to review. I'm not much of a poet myself: I dabble now and again but I wouldn't call myself one. I don't feel like I have enough knowledge of the craft to fully appreciate poetry, and so I can't really comment on how good it is.

Sylvia Plath is a poet I do like, but I don't love all of her poems. This collection in particular was a little bit of a mixed bag, but I feel like I'll appreciate it more and more on subsequent readings - and I will most definitely be return
...more
April
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, loved, poetry
Plath astonishes with her grasp on words. What more can I say about her? I've already filled plenty of spaces praising this wondrous woman. Each poem is a breath of fresh air.

'Your handful of notes; / The clear vowels rise like balloons.'

'My bones hold a stillness, the / Fields melt my heart.'

'They threaten / To let me through to a haven / Starless and fatherless, a dark water.'

'A living doll, everywhere you look. / It can sew, it can cook / It can talk, talk, talk.'

'Out of the ash / I rise wi
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Read Women: Ariel by Sylvia Plath 32 61 Aug 29, 2019 07:05AM  
Non Fiction Book ...: July 17 - Ariel by Slyvia Plath 4 15 Jul 26, 2018 11:47AM  
Ariel 1 7 Apr 20, 2018 07:14AM  
Sylvia Plath Lovers: BEHEMOTHER 1 13 Apr 04, 2017 06:52AM  
All About Books: 1st December 2014 - 'Daddy' by Sylvia Plath 20 55 Dec 08, 2014 06:50AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Howl and Other Poems
  • Birthday Letters
  • The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
  • The Waste Land and Other Poems
  • Transformations
  • Leaves of Grass
  • Lunch Poems
  • The Dream Songs
  • Diving Into the Wreck
  • The Complete Poems
  • A Light in the Attic
  • Selected Poems of Ezra Pound
  • Sold as a Slave
  • The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats
  • Crush
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience
  • Milk and Honey
  • Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (Faber Library)
See similar books…
13,590 followers
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

Articles featuring this book

Punk rock legend, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, award-winning writer, photographer, activist, and all-around Renaissance woman Patti Smith is ...
168 likes · 24 comments
11 trivia questions
1 quiz
More quizzes & trivia...
“Dying
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 have a call.”
1586 likes
“I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
to lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free.”
1037 likes
More quotes…