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Crossing the Water Paperback – May 9, 1980


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Frequently Bought Together

Crossing the Water + The Colossus and Other Poems + Ariel: The Restored Edition: A Facsimile of Plath's Manuscript, Reinstating Her Original Selection and Arrangement (P.S.)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 9, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060907894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060907891
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sylvia Plath (1932-63) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied at Smith College. In 1955 she went to Cambridge University on a Fulbright fellowship, where she met and later married Ted Hughes. She published one collection of poems in her lifetime, The Colossus (1960), and a novel, The Bell Jar (1963). Her Collected Poems, which contains her poetry written from 1956 until her death, was published in 1981 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Other posthumous publications include Ariel, her landmark publication, Crossing the Water, Winter Trees, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams and The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962.


More About the Author

Sylvia Plath was born in 1932 in Massachusetts. Her books include the poetry collections The Colossus, Crossing the Water, Winter Trees, Ariel, and The Collected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize. Plath is credited with being a pioneer of the 20th-century style of writing called confessional poetry. Her poem "Daddy" is one of the best-known examples of this genre.

In 1963, Plath's semi-autobiographic novel The Bell Jar was published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas"; it was reissued in 1966 under her own name. A complete and uncut facsimile edition of Ariel was published in 2004 with her original selection and arrangement of poems. She was married to the poet Ted Hughes, with whom she had a daughter, Frieda, and a son, Nicholas. She died in London in 1963.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Krist on June 16, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is probably my favorite collection of Plath poetry, although some of my favorite poems aren't in here (Morning Song is my very favorite). From the time I looked at the cover (dark waves at night, what could be better for the writer who crossed the Atlantic to die by her own hand?) to the last poem in the book, I felt that I was seeing Plath's vision at its most clearly expressed. You can feel the dark weight of her impending collapse, but her head is still above water, so to speak. I also think that it's the book with the least amount of self-pity; she's strongest as a poet and as a person in this collection. This is not to discount Ariel, which contain some of her best poems, but they're like flashes of lightning in a grey sky of self-pity. In Crossing the Water, on the other hand, we get to see the loneliness of the long distance swimmer, sure and strong, who knows she's heading into danger.
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Format: Paperback
This volume was put together by Ted Hughes after the death of Sylvia Plath. It contains poems written in the period between the publication of 'Colossus' and her later most famous collection'Ariel.' I know Plath's writing in a quite superficial way and would in any sense have difficulty affirming or disaffirming the iconic status she has attained in the world of poetry.
I in truth did not find the poems on the whole on what I would call the 'legendary level' that of Dickinson, Hopkins, Wallace Stevens, Yeats, those whose music make their lines incredibly memorable.
But I did find in these poems many startling and surprising lines, a world of metaphor extremely rich and often disconcerting. These are the poems, of a true original whose voice is pitched extremely high. They are poems in which the language too seems searching to reach an extreme level of feeling.
Perhaps the most well- known poem of the collection is the award winning 'Insomniac' which closes with a stanza typical of Plath.

"Nightlong , in the granite yard ,invisible cats
Have been howling like women, or damaged instruments.
Already he can feel daylight, his white disease,
Creeping up with her hatful of trivial repetitions.
The city is a map of cheerful twitters now,
And everywhere people, eyes mica- silver and blank,
Are riding to work in rows, as if recently brainwashed."

A happier and somewhat milder mood is expressed in the poem 'Love Letter' which I take to be about her relationship with Ted Hughes.
It opens with the following stanza.

"Not easy to state the change you made.
If I'm alive now, then I was dead,
Though , like a stone , unbothered by it,
Staying put according to habit.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carl Rollyson on March 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Collected Poems has superseded this edition, which was put together in those early days when Ted and Olwyn Hughes were figuring out how to present Plath's work. The slim volume itself, however, in hard cover format, is wonderful to hold--at least for those who still value that kind of experience. Plath scholar Judith Kroll explains in the latest edition of her landmark book, CHAPTERS IN A MYTHOLOGY, the drama of editing and publishing Plath after her death.
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By Cheyenne Boyd on April 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Sylvia Plath and this transitional book is amazing. However, when I received it in the mail, the pages were practically loose. The glue of the spine was yellow and oozing and once I started reading, the pages fell in my lap.
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