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The Collected Poems Paperback – September 2, 2008

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Editorial Reviews Review

Sylvia Plath died in 1963, and even now her outsize persona threatens to bury her poetry--the numerous biographies and studies often drawing the reader toward anecdote and away from the work. It's a relief to turn to the poems themselves and once more be jolted by their strange beauty, hard-wrought originality, and acetylene anger. "It is a heart, / This holocaust I walk in, / O golden child the world will kill and eat." While the juvenilia and poems written before 1960 that Ted Hughes has included here prefigure Plath's later obsessions, they also enable us to witness her turn from thesaurus-heavy verse to stripped-down art as they gather power through raw simplicity. "The blood jet is poetry. / There is no stopping it," she declares in "Kindness." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Above The Oxbow
Alicante Lullaby
All The Dead Dears
Among The Narcissi
An Appearance
The Applicant
April 18
April Aubade
Aquatic Nocturne
The Arrival Of The Bee Box
The Babysitters
Barren Woman
Battle-scene; From The Comic Operatic Fantasy The Seafarer
The Bee Meeting
The Beekeeper's Daughter
The Beggars
A Birthday Present
Bitter Strawberries
Black Pine Tree In An Orange Light
Black Rook In Rainy Weather
Blue Moles
The Bull Of Bendylaw
Burning The Letters
The Burnt-out Spa
By Candlelight
Channel Crossing
Child's Park Stones
Childless Woman
Circus In Three Rings
The Colossus
The Companionable Ills
Conversation Among Ruins
The Courage Of Shutting-up
The Couriers
Crossing The Water
Crystal Gazer
Danse Macabre
Dark Wood, Dark Water
The Dead
Death & Co.
The Death Of Myth-making
The Detective
Dialogue Between Ghost And Priest
Dialogue En Route
Dialogue Over A Ouija Board
Dirge For A Joker
The Dispossessed
The Disquieting Muses
Doom Of Exiles
The Dream
Dream With Clam-diggers
Electra On Azalea Path
Ella Mason And Her Eleven Cats
Elm; For Ruth Fainlight
Epitaph For Fire And Flower
Epitaph In Three Parts: 1
Epitaph In Three Parts: 2
Epitaph In Three Parts: 3
The Everlasting Monday
The Eye-mote
Fable Of The Rhododendron Stealers
Face Lift
Family Reunion
The Fearful
Female Author
Fever 103 Degrees
Fiesta Melons
For A Fatherless Son
Frog Autumn
Full Fathom Five
Getting There
The Ghost's Leavetaking
The Glutton
Go Get The Goodly Squab In Gold-lobed Corn
Gold Mouths Cry With The Green Young
The Goring
The Great Carbuncle
Green Rock, Winthrop Bay
The Hanging Man
Hardcastle Crags
Heavy Women
The Hermit At Outermost House
I Am Vertical
I Want, I Want
In Midas' Country
In Plaster
Insolent Storm Strikes At The Skull
The Jailer
The Lady And The Earthenware Head
Lady Lazarus
Lament; A Villanelle
Last Words
Leaving Early
A Lesson In Vengeance
Letter In November
Letter To A Purist
A Life
Little Fugue
Love Is A Parallax
Love Letter
Magnolia Shoals
Man In Black
The Manor Garden
Mary's Song
Memoirs Of A Spinach-picker
Metamorphoses Of The Moon
Midsummer Mobile
Miss Drake Proceeds To Supper
Monologue At 3 A.m.
The Moon And The Yew Tree
Moonsong At Morning
Morning In The Hospital Solarium
Morning Song
The Munich Mannequins
Mussel Hunter At Rock Harbor
Natural History
The Net-menders
Never Try To Trick Me With A Kiss
New Year On Dartmoor
Nick And The Candlestick
The Night Dances
Night Shift
Notes To A Neophyte
November Graveyard
Ode For Ted
Old Ladies' Home
On Deck
On Looking Into The Eyes Of A Demon Lover
On The Decline Of Oracles
On The Difficulty Of Conjuring Up A Dryad
On The Plethora Of Dryads
The Other
The Other Two
Parliament Hill Fields
Perseus; The Triumph Of Wit Over Suffering
Poem For A Birthday: 1. Who
Poem For A Birthday: 2. Dark House
Poem For A Birthday: 3. Maenad
Poem For A Birthday: 4. The Beast
Poem For A Birthday: 5. Flute Notes From A Reedy Pond
Poem For A Birthday: 6. Witch Burning
Poem For A Birthday: 7. The Stones
Poems, Potatoes
Point Shirley
Polly's Tree
Poppies In July
Poppies In October
The Princess And The Goblins
Private Ground
Prologue To Spring
Queen Mary's Rose Garden
The Queen's Complaint
The Rabbit Catcher
The Ravaged Face
The Rival
Sculptor (for Leonard Baskin)
A Secret! A Secret! %how Superior
Sheep In Fog
The Shrike
Sleep In The Mojave Desert
The Sleepers
The Snowman On The Moor
Soliloquy Of The Solipist
Song For A Revolutionary Love
Song For A Summer's Day
Sonnet To Satan
Sonnet To Time
Sonnet: To Eva
A Sorcerer Bids Farewell To Seem
Southern Sunrise
Stars Over The Dordogne
Stopped Dead
Street Song
Strumpet Song
Suicide Off Egg Rock
The Surgeon At 2 A.m.
The Swarm
Tale Of A Tub
Temper Of Time
The Thin People
Three Women; A Poem For Three Voices
The Times Are Tidy
Tinker Jack And The Tidy Wives
To A Jilted Lover
To Eva Descending The Stair; A Villanelle
The Tour
The Trial Of Man
Trio Of Love Songs: 1
Trio Of Love Songs: 2
Trio Of Love Songs: 3
Two Campers In Cloud Country
Two Lovers And A Beachcomber By The Real Sea
Two Sisters Of Persephone
Two Views Of A Cadaver Room: 1
Two Views Of A Cadaver Room: 2
Vanity Fair
Virgin In A Tree
Walking In Winter
Watercolor Of Grantchester Meadows
Whiteness I Remember
Widow. The Word Concumes Itself
Winter Landscape, With Rooks
A Winter Ship
Winter Trees
A Winter's Tale
Words For A Nursery
Words Heard, By Accident, Over The Phone
Wreath For A Bridal
Wuthering Heights
Yaddo: The Grand Manor
Yadwigha, On A Red Couch, Among Lillies; A Sestina
Zoo Keeper's Wife
A Prophet
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder® --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061558893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061558894
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is the most complete collection of Sylvia Plath's poetry assembled in one volume. It is for this reason that it belongs almost as required reading, not just in American english programs, but in secondary schools everywhere. It's value lies in it's progression of a female poet and her journey towards finding her true voice. We see the early poems, methodically and skillfully written, shedding style after style of obvious influences through excercises of observation and perserverance. Through these verses, she explores and develops an intricate mythology; by the end, however, she has not lost us in her private world of symbolism and imagery, but enthralls us, heartbreakingly, through the mastery of her words. These last poems, that made up her final manuscript, are undisputedly some of the most moving and beautifully executed compositions of this past century. It is a wonderful book, one that forever changes the way the reader interprets art and the world around him that inspires it.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By "siammuse" on October 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
It doesn't matter what you think about Sylvia Plath; her suicides, dependence on Ted Hughes, the relationship she had with her mother, her poems about "Daddy, the very depth of the darkness she held inside. It doesn't matter a damn. What matters is the writing, the beauty of the words, the music in her voice.
"The Collected Poems" won the Pulitzer. Some may disagree with this choice, but what do they know. Sylvia was a genius.
The poems are from 1956-1963...
"Southern Sunrise" 1956
SP uses the imagery of color- lemon,mango, peach, pinapple barked, green crescent of palms, quartz clear, blue drench, red watermelon sun. One can see she was happy when she wrote this poem. (Probably just met Ted)

"Fiesta Melons" 1956
Bright green and thumpable/Laced over With stripes/
Of turtle-dark green/Choose an egg shape/ a world shape/
Bowl one homeward to taste/ in the whitehot noon
I find it interesting how much SP's poems reveal about her state of mind as she wrote them. One can observe the progression of depression, her troubled marriage and lonliness, especially in the later poems 1960-63...
"Tulips" 1961
I am nobody/I have nothing to do with explosions.
I didn't want any flowers/I only wanted/to lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
"The Rival" 1961(About Ted??)
I wake to a mausoleum; you are here/Ticking your fingers on the marble table/looking for cigarettes/Spiteful as a woman, but not so nervous/ And dying to say something unanswerable.
The Moon and the Yew Tree" 1961
Separated from my house by a row of headstones/ I simply cannot see where there is to get to.
Read more ›
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Alger VINE VOICE on August 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Gosh, I love Sylvia Plath's prose and poetry. I could read and reread some of her poems again and again. This is a great collection of her poems. I keep this book loose on my bookshelf when I feel like getting shivers up my spine before I go to sleep. There are some poems that I can just read and reread over and over again that make me feel... oh, mysterious, anxious, happy, perplexed... and Sylvia Plath is one of the poets who has written multiple poems that give me those feelings. Most people who like poetry are familiar with Mirror or Daddy, but there are other poems that people don't know about. I loved the sonnet "To Time" and the poem "Mystic." It is interesting to read her poems knowing what she was going through... reading the poems that coincide with certain events in her life, like her marriage to Ted Hughes, and poems that she wrote about her attempted suicides. I suggest this collection to anyone who is interested in this woman... and I also recommend that you read The Bell Jar as you read her poems, or maybe a few of her journal entries. Sylvia Plath is one of those poets that writes about herself, and knowing background on her life is crucial in understanding these poems. Well, you can decide for yourself.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Perhaps one of the best collections of poetry ever assembled, Sylvia Plath's poems are a must read for Plath fans and poetry buffs alike. Listed in chronological order (as much as possible), readers should pay particular attention to the poems from the summer of 1962 until the last poems in 1963 to fully appreciate the groundbreaking, enigmatic verse that defines Sylvia Plath. In addition to fifty poems written during her years as an undergrad at Smith College, there is a very interesting selection of notes including the original order of poems in Plath's Ariel collection (the order of the posthumous collection was altered following her death). A wonderful gift for (literate) college students (and not just English majors).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jerome Murphy on September 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is work of the highest potency and widest influence, even outside of poetic writing. Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, and even Madonna have all mentioned reading Plath's poems. As a writer put it, "if we could bottle her verse, it would be the strongest brew in the bar."

Some of Plath's phrases stand in the lyrical company of Yeats, her imagery in the company of Rimbaud -- but the mournful obsessiveness, lit with fury, is hers alone. Her late work is a de Chirico landscape come to life. "The Moon and the Yew Tree" is like reading a Van Gogh.

Take the journey. Start off casually, flipping through to find the shorter poems. Then, find yourself addicted until you're scouring the dense early work and the juvenilia, fiending for just one more hit of the imagery and phrasing that goes off like a firecracker "through the black amnesias of heaven."

In this book, readers will confront the poet who wrote "where spilt lives congeal and stiffen to history." Plath is the most Disquieting Muse.
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