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Collected Poems Paperback – 19 Aug 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; First U. S. Edition edition (19 Aug. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571118380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571118380
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied at Smith College. In 1955 she went to Cambridge University on a Fulbright scholarship, 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.

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Amazon 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."

Book Description

The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath, written between 1956 and her death in 1963, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning edition of Plath's iconic poetry.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Jun. 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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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By "ten_bob_revolutionary2" on 28 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
It is easy - all too easy - to become obsessed with Plath's real-life mental illness, relationships, demons and ultimate suicide. It's an unfortunate fact of life that an artist dies young and her life is placed in greater prominence than her art - her life BECOMES her art. For this reason Plath is all too often dismissed as a 'feminist poet' (read 'Lesbos' and think again, frankly) and a 'troubled artist' sniffily categorised as a purveyor of 'sixth form poetry'. Christ, how anyone believing this is missing out!
Plath's rich mastery of words lends itself to a jaunty, lyrical style that seems to sing from the page. It adds a compelling immediacy to such intense and intricate poetry as 'Daddy' and 'Lady Lazarus'. Frankly, at her best Plath is a joy to read and a master storyteller - both of her own emotions ('Edge', the final poem in this collection, is perhaps the single most harrowing work of art ever written) and of products of an unnervingly fertile imagination - one so versatile that she evades all stereotypes with a sidestep as neat and sharp as her turn of phrase.
It's not all doom and gloom, either. 'Balloons', despite it's uncertain and chilling pathos, displays a razor sharp wit, while 'You're' offers a sweet, bouncing lullaby to a sweet, bouncing newborn baby - hope and renewal delivered through the birth of a child ('a clean slate/with your own face on').
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Nov. 1998
Format: Paperback
Sylvia Plath's poetry ranges from exuberant to searingly painful. Ted Hughes, her husband and one of formost poets and critics in the English language, has done a masterful job in designing this collection and adding editorial explications. Sylvia Plath's poetry has been, at times, usurped by feminist ideologues for purposes it was not intended for. It stands in it's own right, though, as the primarily autobiographical story of a young woman's struggles and triumphs, written with clarity and brilliance. Plath is one of the formost American poets of the century, and regardless of what some fuddy duddy over intellectualized critics might say of her work, it is a joy and often a sorrow to read.
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Format: Paperback
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 difficult but angry, destructive yet incandescent, redolent of a rage and fury that spills over into an almost frightening but also thrilling sense of creativity.

So this might well be the Plath that Hughes creates - but the poetry itself stands up for itself.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Nov. 1998
Format: Paperback
The largely autobrioghical work of Plath is a major literary addition the canon of female, New England and American poetic traditions. She is truly one of the great American poets of this century, regardless what over intellectualized critics might find to fuss about. It's unfortunate that her work has been somewhat kidnapped by feminist ideologues, who have used it to promote a political agenda it was never intended for. Primary tactic among this is the demonization of Ted Hughes, her husband and poet laureate of Britain (he died recently of cancer), whose brilliant body of work in poetry, children's books, translations of classics and social & literary commentary might be unmatched by any writer in English this century. Plath's beautiful, poignant sometimes searing poetry stands tall in it's own write, well above the political affectations lesser readers might want to put on it.
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