Cover image for The collected poems
Title:
The collected poems

Harper Colophon books ;

Harper colophon books.
Title:
The collected poems
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
New York : Harper & Row/Perennial Library, [1981]
Physical Description:
351 pages ; 24 cm.
Series:
Harper Colophon books ; CN900

Harper colophon books.
Abstract:
Contains in sequence all the poetry written by the author from 1956 until her suicide in 1963, together with fifty selections from her pre-1956 work.
Subject Term:
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811.54 PLAT New or Popular Book Adult Nonfiction
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Summary

Author Notes

Sylvia Plath's best poetry was produced, tragically, as she pondered self-destruction---in her poems as well as her life---and she eventually committed suicide. She had an extraordinary impact on British as well as American poetry in the few years before her death, and affected many poets, particularly women, in the generation after. She is a confessional poet, influenced by the approach of Robert Lowell.

Born in Boston, a graduate of Smith College, Plath attended Newnham College, Cambridge University, on a Fulbright Fellowship and married the British poet Ted Hughes. Of her first collection,The Colossus and Other Poems (1962), the Times Literary Supplement remarked, "Plath writes from phrase to phrase as well as with an eye on the larger architecture of the poem; each line, each sentence is put together with a good deal of care for the springy rhythm, the arresting image and---most of all, perhaps---the unusual word."

Plath's second book of poetry, Ariel, written in 1962 in a last fever of passionate creative activity, was published posthumously in 1965 and explores dimensions of women's anger and sexuality in groundbreaking new ways. Plath's struggles with women's issues, in the days before the second wave of American feminism, became legendary in the 1970s, when a new generation of women readers and writers turned to her life as well as her work to understand the contradictory pressures of ambitious and talented women in the 1950s. The Bell Jar---first published under a pseudonym in 1963 and later issued under Plath's own name in England in 1966---is an autobiographical novel describing an ambitious young woman's efforts to become a "real New York writer" only to sink into mental illness and despair at her inability to operate within the narrow confines of traditional feminine expectations. Plath was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1982. In recent years, there have been a number of biographies and critical evaluations of Plath's work.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Excerpts

Excerpts

The Collected Poems 1956 Conversation Among the Ruins Through portico of my elegant house you stalk With your wild furies, disturbing garlands of fruit And the fabulous lutes and peacocks, rending the net Of all decorum which holds the whirlwind back. Now, rich order of walls is fallen; rooks croak Above the appalling ruin; in bleak light Of your stormy eye, magic takes flight Like a daunted witch, quitting castle when real days break Fractured pillars frame prospects of rock; While you stand heroic in coat and tie, I sit Composed in Grecian tunic and psyche-knot, Rooted to your black look, the play turned tragic: With such blight wrought on our bankrupt estate, What ceremony of words can patch the havoc? Winter Landscape, with Rooks Water in the millrace, through a sluice of stone, plunges headlong into that black pond where, absurd and out-of-season, a single swan floats chaste as snow, taunting the clouded mind which hungers to haul the white reflection down. The austere sun descends above the fen, an orange cyclops-eye, scorning to look longer on this landscape of chagrin; feathered dark in thought, I stalk like a rook, brooding as the winter night comes on. Last summer's reeds are all engraved in ice as is your image in my eye; dry frost glazes the window of my hurt; what solace can be struck from rock to make heart's waste grow green again? Who'd walk in this bleak place? The Collected Poems . Copyright © by Sylvia Plath. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.