Selected Poems of Sylvia Plath
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Selected Poems of Sylvia Plath

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When Sylvia Plath's Ariel was published posthumously, A. Alvarez in the Observer wrote: 'If the poems are despairing, vengeful and destructive, they are at the same time tender, open to things, and also unusually clever, sardonic, hard-minded ...They are works of great artistic purity and, despite all the nihilism, great generosity ...the book is a major literary event'. This selection made by Ted Hughes from all her work shows that Sylvia Plath is clearly a major poet of the twentieth century.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 96 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 10mm | 120g
  • FABER & FABER
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 0571135862
  • 9780571135868
  • 18,581

About Sylvia Plath

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); Ariel was published posthumously in 1965. 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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Review Text

To judge by the selected works of a man many consider her greatest contemporary poet, England is in serious literary trouble. Careful, well-crafted, with the over-diligent working of metaphor, these poems are almost totally deficient in vitality, spontaneity, and playfulness. To quote what is no doubt an unwitting self-description, his compilation of imageries rarely goes beyond itself: "By feats of torpor, by circumventing sleights/ Of stupefaction, juggleries of benumbing,/ By lucid sophistries of sight/ To a staturing 'I am.' " The subject matter is appropriately yesteryear: references to Cuchulain, Parnell, Faustus, King and Country, The War to End All Wars; words like "behemoth," invocations such as "Aged Eye!" However, some of his later nature poems, where he assumes the guise of rock, wind, or animal, transcend this academic categorizing into a kind of ecstasy ("The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing at a work/ That points at him amazed"), giving promise to the more interesting direction of his future (now current) work. (Kirkus Reviews)

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