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Ariel, Sylvia Plath Ariel was the second book of Sylvia Plath s poetry to be published It was originally published in 1965, two years after her death by suicide The poems in the 1965 edition of Ariel, with their free flowing images and characteristically menacing psychic landscapes, marked a dramatic turn from Plath s earlier Colossus poems.Contents 1965 version Morning Song The Couriers Sheep in Fog The Applicant Lady Lazarus Tulips Cut Elm The Night Dances Poppies in October Ber Ariel, Sylvia Plath Ariel was the second book of Sylvia Plath s poetry to be published It was originally published in 1965, two years after her death by suicide The poems in the 1965 edition of Ariel, with their free flowing images and characteristically menacing psychic landscapes, marked a dramatic turn from Plath s earlier Colossus poems.Contents 1965 version Morning Song The Couriers Sheep in Fog The Applicant Lady Lazarus Tulips Cut Elm The Night Dances Poppies in October Berck Plage Ariel Death Co Lesbos Nick and the Candlestick Gulliver Getting There Medusa The Moon and the Yew Tree A Birthday Present Mary s Song Letter in November The Rival Daddy You re Fever 103 The Bee Meeting The Arrival of the Bee Box Stings The Swarm Wintering The Hanging Man Little Fugue Years The Munich Mannequins Totem Paralytic Balloons Poppies in July Kindness Contusion Edge Words 20001932 1963, Haunting and honest a scalpel that cuts so deep and quick you don t even feel it. When I was a kid, I loved stories about intrepid explorers who visited places no one had ever seen before, and died heroically in the attempt I guess Scott of the Antarctic is the canonical example though later on, I discovered to my surprise that Norwegians just think he was an idiot who didn t prepare carefully, and that Amundsen was the real hero There is a wonderful episode in Jan Kj rstad s Erobreren which contrasts the English and Norwegian views of these two great men.So what s this g When I was a kid, I loved stories about intrepid explorers who visited places no one had ever seen before, and died heroically in the attempt I guess Scott of the Antarctic is the canonical example though later on, I discovered to my surprise that Norwegians just think he was an idiot who didn t prepare carefully, and that Amundsen was the real hero There is a wonderful episode in Jan Kj rstad s Erobreren which contrasts the English and Norwegian views of these two great men.So what s this got to do with Ariel I was trying to figure out why I like it so much it s been one of my absolute favorite pieces of poetry since I first came across it as a teenager , and it struck me that maybe I admired it for similar reasons Sylvia Plath went on an expedition to a sort of emotional Antarctica, a place most people have heard of but never visited, where you experience love so intensely that it ends up killing you Before that happened, however, she managed to send back detailed reports of what she d found there Perhaps another reason why I associate her and the brave Captain Scott is that she died during the English winter of 1963 I was five at the time, and some of my first memories are of the bitter cold, and of how incredibly deep the snow was I remember that we were snowed in, and that my father shovelled a path to the house next door, so that we could at least visit them The snow was much higher than his head A few hundred miles away, Sylvia had left her husband, and was living in London with her two children She killed herself on February 11.Here are some of the passages from Ariel that I think of most often I have always assumed that the title poem is about having sex with Ted Hughes, though I found out recently that it s also about her horse It ends like this WhiteGodiva, I unpeel Dead hands, dead stringencies.And now IFoam to wheat, a glitter of seas.The child s cryMelts in the wall.And IAm the arrow,The dew that fliesSuicidal, at one with the driveInto the redEye, the cauldron of morning.The beginning of Elm is another of my favourite passages, which expresses better than anything else I can think of just how painful love can be I remember once showing it to a friend who s had a rather difficult life we d been having some discussion about poetry She seemed almost physically affected I remember she turned pale, and couldn t finish reading it I wished I d hadsense I know the bottom, she says I know it with my great tap root It is what you fear.I do not fear it I have been there.Is it the sea you hear in me,Its dissatisfactions Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness Love is a shadow.How you lie and cry after itListen these are its hooves it has gone off, like a horse.All night I shall gallop thus, impetuously,Till your head is a stone, your pillow a little turf,Echoing, echoingAnd I love the end of Nick and the Candlestick, which she apparently wrote to her son, two years old at the time O embryoRemembering, even in sleep,Your crossed position.The blood blooms cleanIn you, ruby.The painYou wake to is not yours.Love, love,I have hung our cave with roses,With soft rugs The last of Victoriana.Let the starsPlummet to their dark address,Let the mercuricAtoms that cripple dripInto the terrible well,You are the oneSolid the spaces lean on, envious.You are the baby in the barn.I was so shocked when I read earlier this year that he had also killed himself But when someone s written a poem like this about you, you re as immortal as the unnamed subject of Shakespeare s Sonnet XVIII.By the way, most people have been very dismissive of the movie with Gwynneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig I seem to be one of the rare exceptions the script was nothing special, but I thought Paltrow had done a fine job of capturing her personality on screen Either disturbed by some haunting, otherworldly presence or simply because of the purring birdsong I awake on the early hours of this winter morning and I grab Sylvia Plath s collection of poems Ariel, which is calling to me from my bedside table Still drowsy with soft shades of silky sheets printed on my cheeks my glassy eyes try to focus on stray words that chop like sharpened axes Streams of unleashed running waters wash over me but fail to cleanse my soul I am unsettled Disturbing images Either disturbed by some haunting, otherworldly presence or simply because of the purring birdsong I awake on the early hours of this winter morning and I grab Sylvia Plath s collection of poems Ariel, which is calling to me from my bedside table Still drowsy with soft shades of silky sheets printed on my cheeks my glassy eyes try to focus on stray words that chop like sharpened axes Streams of unleashed running waters wash over me but fail to cleanse my soul I am unsettled Disturbing images flood the still pond of my mind, I feel faint visualizing drops of blood soaking weaved carpets of fluffy snowflakes drawing impossibly flowery forms on shimmering innocence, red tulips opening their moist petals aroused by treacherous dew at dawn, warmth bitterly frozen in morbid colors Sylvia s brushstrokes combine the diluted shades of Manet with the impressionist aggressiveness and stunning tones of Pollock Vulnerability and firm willpower are both present in form and content in this collection of poems I encounter unapologetic Sylvia in her Lady Lazarus bewitching me with her defiant assertionDying Is an art, like everything else I do it exceptionally well And I force myself not to think of her tragic suicide and her mental condition when she wrote these verses I choose to concentrate on the writer, on the genius, on the creativity which enables suffering to become universal works of art that offer comfort and redemption, on the flowing current of feeling rather than on the scabrous speculations hiding behind Sylvia s supposed products of madness Truth is I don t want to know Some things are best left unsought, some things need to be sensed rather than known, so I decide to surrender to Sylvia s acidic voice and let the walls of this cage dissolve away and for the briefest of moments, I taste the undistinguishable flavor of exhilarating freedom.Let the poems speak for themselves They probe unfalteringly with sardonic disdain, they delve deep in scavenger spirit, pecking unmercifully at their own creator s flesh, they are abrupt, sarcastic, even deceitful Sylvia s virulent words become everlasting vessels, carriers of existential vision, ships of meaning that will perpetually sail the wintry dark waters of countless readers breaking through their foggy minds and dormant hearts.I thirstily swallow these 43 naked poems trying not to choke on their rawness and I unexpectedly find myself dragged by the powerful force of this kaleidoscopic river of white pure waters, red sensual nooks and black nihilist crannies I am lost in this world of barren landscapes and atrocious celestial bodies, of endless inner wars and abandoned children and abused fathers But I don t want to be foundO God, I am not like youIn your vacuous black,Stars stuck all over, bright stupid confetti.Eternity bores me, I never wanted it YearsSylvia s use of colloquial language and her disdainful tone puncture the balloon of comfort and challenge the reader, her assonant and imperfect rhymes structured in free verse blend with myth and natural imagery creating a surreal and hypnotic hum that soothes and strikes back like a cobra, drawing honest blood and recognitionWho do you think you are A Communion wafer Blubbery Mary I shall take no bite of your body,Bottle in which I live,Ghastly Vatican.I am sick to death of hot salt.Green as eunuchs, your wishesHiss at my sins.Off, off, eely tentacle There is nothing between usMedusaSylvia s choice of words and expressions pungently resonate in this age of gender conflict, broken families and economic inequalities, the bottled rage that derives from continuous betrayal and disappointment can be softened through Plath s bitter yet courageous individuality Some exotic birds aren t meant to be caged It would be a sin not to allow their colorful feathers to be spread and fly away Sylvia escaped from a colorless world to soar the skies of eternity, tingeing them with burning bright celestial pathways that enlighten the firmament of those who, from time to time, dare to look up to the floors of heaven and allow themselves to be consumed by the flames of blazing and immortal artIt is what you fear.I do not fear it I have been there.It is the sea you hear in me,Its dissatisfactions Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness Love is a shadow Elm Sylvia Plath s celebrated collectionWhen Sylvia Plath died, she not only left behind a prolific life but also her unpublished literary masterpiece, Ariel Her husband, Ted Hughes, brought the collection to life in , and its publication garnered worldwide acclaim This collection showcases the beloved poet s brilliant, provoking, and always moving poems, including Ariel and once again shows why readers have fallen in love with her work throughout the generations What do I think I honestly don t know My favorite poems were Elm, The Moon and the Yew Tree, and Edge I admit that Sylvia Plath s poetry may be beyond my ability to fullly understand I have The Collected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982, on my to read shelf Maybe theI read the better I will understand There is an aura about Sylvia Plath that I find fascinating Her writing is so unique, so different from anything else, you can t help being drawn to it, like a moth to a fla What do I think I honestly don t know My favorite poems were Elm, The Moon and the Yew Tree, and Edge I admit that Sylvia Plath s poetry may be beyond my ability to fullly understand I have The Collected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982, on my to read shelf Maybe theI read the better I will understand There is an aura about Sylvia Plath that I find fascinating Her writing is so unique, so different from anything else, you can t help being drawn to it, like a moth to a flame Cold glass, how you insert yourselfBetween myself and myself.I scratch like a catThese poems are jagged, visceral, and very, very raw They re angry and bruised,extravagant, like tortureAnd they are frequently charged with a dark, mirthless laughter After all, there is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn Or so Camus once said.As a total poetry novice, I might be way off base with some of my impressions I didn t even come close to understanding everything I read But I do kCold glass, how you insert yourselfBetween myself and myself.I scratch like a catThese poems are jagged, visceral, and very, very raw They re angry and bruised,extravagant, like tortureAnd they are frequently charged with a dark, mirthless laughter After all, there is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn Or so Camus once said.As a total poetry novice, I might be way off base with some of my impressions I didn t even come close to understanding everything I read But I do know that she shared some of her deepest, most intense feelings with me She made me absorb them She forced me to feel them too Plath s depression had clawsThere is the sunlight, playing its blades,Bored hoodlum in a red roomYou know, her own dangerous radiance felt somehow similar A collection released two years after her death, written in a grand burst of creativity just before death I had to get this mainly because of the cover, but I can say that though I have the all poems book, having this separately was worth it And I a smiling womanI am only thirty.And like that cat I have nine times to die. from Lady Lazarus There are so many themes I could get from here colors red, white, black, etc , moods uncertainty, calm, quiet joy, being distant , and subject A collection released two years after her death, written in a grand burst of creativity just before death I had to get this mainly because of the cover, but I can say that though I have the all poems book, having this separately was worth it And I a smiling womanI am only thirty.And like that cat I have nine times to die. from Lady Lazarus There are so many themes I could get from here colors red, white, black, etc , moods uncertainty, calm, quiet joy, being distant , and subjects motherhood, marriage expectations, mornings, the still alive after another suicide attempt, feverishness, something that reads like a nightmare, death waiting, a solitary autumn walk, children with balloons , and nature bees, flowers, moon, night, sheep, trees Some poems were difficult to open, difficult to find their meaning, but that just means repeated readings might open them But the best poem here is the very intense RAEG of Daddy , that feels like your head knocking against some sudden hard surface, the language dancing on repeat around certain words, finally ending in what feeling like a shout mixed with rage and triumphant joy it is a jumping point with an exclamation mark There s even a small echo of it in Little Fugue , I feel This does have a slight feel of last collection ever , even if not so intended But it feels honest, and like her I don t see myself wanting to interpret each poem here though the themes above might be a little , but the moods seem so clear even in the poems I can t open yet This is a quick read, yet at the same time not, since I feel rereads are ahead Yet for a last collection, it feel like a perfect collection I picked this up last night, wanting to read just one poem, The Moon and the Yew Tree specifically, but I ended up reading all of them, the entire book I won t pretend to understand what most of her poems were about, but they left me in goosebumps and ashiver I enjoyed them What a mind, what a mind Utterly glorious Bane of her existence and yet because of its blackness, she still exists today Sublime work.I wish she had writtennovels too Her poetic prose and timings are undeniable I picked this up last night, wanting to read just one poem, The Moon and the Yew Tree specifically, but I ended up reading all of them, the entire book I won t pretend to understand what most of her poems were about, but they left me in goosebumps and ashiver I enjoyed them What a mind, what a mind Utterly glorious Bane of her existence and yet because of its blackness, she still exists today Sublime work.I wish she had writtennovels too Her poetic prose and timings are undeniable Read it Addendum as I was reading this it dawned on me her poems are undeniably Gothic, weird this didn t occur to me before Her every poem makes me suck in my breath It is hardly breaking news that she was a good poet but such terrific words, I don t even want to imagine the insides of her terrible terrible mind It probably won t be right to draw comparisons between the Sylvia Plath who wrote Mad Girl s Love Song during her time at Smith s and the Sylvia Plath of Ariel There s a world of difference between a Sylvia merely mourning lost love and a bitter, lonesome, vengeful, depressed Sylvia trying to live out the last vestiges of a tumultuous life by seeking a form of catharsis through these poems And, indeed, a very personal set of poems these are It took me a while to get through this book not only It probably won t be right to draw comparisons between the Sylvia Plath who wrote Mad Girl s Love Song during her time at Smith s and the Sylvia Plath of Ariel There s a world of difference between a Sylvia merely mourning lost love and a bitter, lonesome, vengeful, depressed Sylvia trying to live out the last vestiges of a tumultuous life by seeking a form of catharsis through these poems And, indeed, a very personal set of poems these are It took me a while to get through this book not only because you cannot breeze through poetry as if it were a piece of fiction But because my obsession with Daddy, Lady Lazarus and The Applicant got in the way of my progress with the remaining poems I think I have read the 3 at least 20 times each since the day I picked up Ariel Merely trying to imagine the ways, in which this lady could have further overwhelmed the literary world had she lived a full life, gives me goosebumps.Who would have thought that cutting your thumb on a chopping board could transform into exquisite poetry A million stars Ariel


About the Author: Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer.Known primarily for her poetry, Plath also wrote a semi autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas The book s protagonist, Esther Greenwood, is a bright, ambitious student at Smith College who begins to experience a mental breakdown while interning for a fashion magazine in New York The plot parallels Plath s experience interning at Mademoiselle magazine and subsequent mental breakdown and suicide attempt.Along with Anne Sexton, Plath is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry initiated by Robert Lowell and W.D Snodgrass Despite her remarkable artistic, academic, and social success at Smith, Plath suffered from severe depression and underwent a period of psychiatric hospitalization She graduated from Smith with highest honours in 1955 and went on to Newnham College, Cambridge, in England, on a Fulbright fellowship Here she met and married the English poet Ted Hughes in 1956 For the following two years she was an instructor in English at Smith College.In 1960, shortly after Plath and Hughes returned to England from America, her first collection of poems appeared asThe Colossus She also gave birth to a daughter, Frieda Rebecca Hughes and Plath s son, Nicholas Farrar, was born in 1962 Plath took her own life on the morning of February 11, 1963 Leaving out bread and milk, she completely sealed the rooms between herself and her sleeping children with wet towels and cloths Plath then placed her head in the oven while the gas was turned on.Her father was Otto Emil Plath.


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