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Collected Poems [Paperback]

Sylvia Plath , Ted Hughes
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.99
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Book Description

19 Aug 2002

This volume contains all Sylvia Plath's mature poetry written from 1956 up to her death in 1963.

The text is preceded by an introduction by Ted Hughes and followed by notes and comments on individual poems. There is also an appendix containing fifty poems from Sylvia Plath's juvenilia.

'For me, the most important literary event of 1981 has been the publication, eighteen years after her death, of Sylvia Plath's Collected Poems, confirming her as one of the most powerful and lavishly gifted poets of our time.' A. Alvarez in the Observer

This collection was awarded the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.


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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: 13.8 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,201 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.

Product Description

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."

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 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.

Ted Hughes (1930-1998) was born in Yorkshire. His first book, The Hawk in the Rain, was published in 1957 by Faber & Faber and was followed by many volumes of poetry and prose for adults and children. He received the Whitbread Book of the Year for two consecutive years for his last published collections of poetry, Tales from Ovid (1997) and Birthday Letters (1998). He was Poet Laureate from 1984, and in 1998 he was appointed to the Order of Merit.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collection details Plath's formidable talent. 18 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Format:Perfect 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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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 3 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I cried my eyes out. Sylvia Plath is spectacular. Hers is the most original poetry by a female voice since Emily Dickenson.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plath is great!! 11 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Format:Perfect 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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Perfect 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Sylvia Plath- Collected Poems. 29 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Have always been fascinated with Plath's poetry. Wanted to get an idea of her development and output during the years she wrote.
Well laid out book- looking forward to reading this!
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep,profound,and delightfully disturbing 30 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Format:Perfect Paperback
By reading this book you are entering the world of Sylvia Plath.Her happiness and her depression.Poems like "The Ghosts Leavetaking","Daddy",and "Ariel" are filled with beautiful language with some of the most energetic language with a disturbing message.It will leave ytou satisfied and slightly chilled.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is a collection of all her poetry written from 1956-1963, and also contains some work which she wrote as a student, before 1956. It is impossible to pinpoint a favourite poem, or to pick one out as being more memorable than the rest, as each poem is an absolute gem, which not only arouses and evokes strong emotions, but also is an entity and unit of a new, different emotion. It is as if the words are like building blocks, laid together correctly to produce a magnificent building, which houses a new refreshing spiritual experience; each poem housing a different one, but each just as powerful. The book also contains notes on some of her poems, with brief explanations, although with literature this powerful, it is more appropriate to FEEL the poems, rather than see the logic and rationale behind them.
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