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1. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia
2. Ariel: The Restored Edition
3. The Bell Jar
4. Rough Magic: A Biography of Sylvia
5. The Spoken Word: Sylvia Plath
6. The Colossus and Other Poems
7. Crossing the Water
8. Letters Home: Correspondence 1950-1963
9. Her Husband: Ted Hughes and Sylvia
10. Collected Children's Stories (Faber
11. Sylvia Plath: Method and Madness:
12. Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia
13. Plath: Poems (Everyman's Library
14. Johnny Panic and the Bible of
15. The Journals of Sylvia Plath
16. The Art of Sylvia Plath: a Symposium
17. The Cambridge Introduction to
18. Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait
19. Sylvia Plath Poems: Selected by
20. The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath

1. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
by Sylvia Plath
Paperback: 768 Pages (2000-10-17)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$12.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385720254
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
First U.S. Publication

A major literary event--the complete, uncensored journals of Sylvia Plath, published in their entirety for the first time.

Sylvia Plath's journals were originally published in 1982 in a heavily abridged version authorized by Plath's husband, Ted Hughes. This new edition is an exact and complete transcription of the diaries Plath kept during the last twelve years of her life. Sixty percent of the book is material that has never before been made public, more fully revealing the intensity of the poet's personal and literary struggles, and providing fresh insight into both her frequent desperation and the bravery with which she faced down her demons. The complete Journals of Sylvia Plath is essential reading for all who have been moved and fascinated by Plath's life and work.

Amazon.com Review
In the decades that have followed Sylvia Plath's suicide in February 1963, much has been written and speculated about her life, most particularlyabout her marriage to fellow poet Ted Hughes and her last months spentwriting the stark, confessional poems that were to become Ariel. And the mythssurrounding Plath have only been intensified by the strong grip herestate--managed by Hughes and his sister, Olwyn--had over the release ofher work. Yet Plath kept journals from the age of 11 until her death at 30.Previously only available in a severely bowdlerized edition, TheUnabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath have now been scrupulouslytranscribed (with every spelling mistake and grammatical error left intact)and annotated by Karen V. Kukil, supervisor of the Plath collection atSmith College.

The journals show the breathless adolescent obsessed with her burgeoningsexuality, the serious university student competing for the highest gradeswhile engaging in the human merry-go-round of 1950s dating, the graduateyear spent at Cambridge University where Plath encountered Ted Hughes. Herversion of their relationship (dating is definitely not the appropriateterm) is a necessary, and deeply painful, complement to Birthday Letters. On March10, 1956, Plath writes:

Please let him come, and give me the resilience & guts to make him respectme, be interested, and not to throw myself at him with loudness orhysterical yelling; calmly, gently, easy baby easy. He is probablystrutting the backs among crocuses now with seven Scandinavian mistresses.And I sit, spiderlike, waiting, here, home; Penelope weaving webs ofWebster, turning spindles of Tourneur. Oh, he is here; my black marauder;oh hungry hungry. I am so hungry for a big smashing creative burgeoningburdened love: I am here; I wait; and he plays on the banks of the riverCam like a casual faun.
Plath's documentation of the two years the couple spent in the U.S. teachingand writing explicitly highlights the dilemma of the late-1950swoman--still swaddled in expectations of domesticity, yet attempting toforge her own independent professional and personal life. This period alsoreveals in detail the therapy sessions in which Plath lets loose herantipathy for her mother and her grief at her father's death when she was8--a contrast to the bright, all-American persona she presented to hermother in the correspondence that was published as Letters Home. Thejournals also feature some notable omissions. Plath understandably skirtedover her breakdown and attempted suicide during the summer of 1953, thoughshe was to anatomize the events minutely in her novel The Bell Jar.

Fragments of diaries exist after 1959, which saw the couple's return toEngland and rural retreat in Devon, the birth of their two children, andtheir separation in late 1962. An extended piece on the illness and deathof an elderly neighbor during this period is particularly affecting and waslater turned into the poem "Berck-Plage." Much has been made of the "lostdiaries" that Plath kept until her suicide--one simply appears to havevanished, the other Hughes burned after her death. It would seem rapaciousto wish for more details of her despair in her final days, however. It iscrystallized in the poems that became Ariel, and this is what thevoice of her journals ultimately send the reader back to. Sylvia Plath'slife has for too long been obfuscated by anecdote, distorting her majorcontribution to 20th-century literature. As she wrote in "Kindness": "Theblood jet is poetry. There is no stopping it." --Catherine Taylor ... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars Inside the Soul and Struggles of Sylvia Plath
The literary genius known as Sylvia Plath has been, like many larger than life artists, unfairly maligned and stereotyped throughout the decades following her death in 1963. In many ways, both critics and readers tend to make her into something of a caricature: often either the angry, castrating feminist or the angst-ridden, tortured artist. Of course, Plath's life story is very compelling, enough to reach mythic, legendary proportions. Because of this, many are too hypnotized by the myth and fail to try and find the real, dimensional human being beneath all of that. In this staggering collection of Plath's unabridged journals (from 1950 to 1962), we get a chance to get closer to knowing that person. Mainly because Plath tells us her life in her own words.

The interesting aspect of these journals is how Plath's narrative style develops throughout them. During her college years at Smith, her writing --- although impressive and articulate --- seems somewhat stilted and self conscious, as if she is desperately reaching for a voice. After she graduates college and settles down with husband Ted Hughes, her writing takes on a new kind of rawness and immediacy. It is still stylized but much less stiff and more like a free flowing stream of consciousness (similar to Virginia Woolf, whom she constantly cites as a key reference and influence in these years). During this time, she suffers constantly from Writer's Block and insecurities about her creative talent. But she is also clearly ambitious and shows an indefatigable will to hone and express her talents. After these years, closer to the end of the book, it seems as if she has finally begun to make a breakthrough, speaking with a directness and palpable intensity that literally jumps off the pages. The most fascinating portion of this 'section' is when she is writing in response to her therapy sessions with longtime psychiatrist Ruth Beuscher. Here she faces her personal demons such as her unhealthy relationship with her mother and her father's death. Her insight and self knowledge are impressive and she details them with language and pathos that leaves you mesmerized.

These journals are a must read for fans of Sylvia Plath's work. They serve as a documentation of her artistic development as well as the gestations of some of her best known work (traces of ideas for "The Bell Jar" are scattered throughout the latter portion). They also give complexity to the image of Sylvia Plath. Yes, there are passages where she speaks about her depression, her anger, and self-destructive urges. But, there are also an equal amount of passages that depict a different side of her: where she describes her day-to-day routines and activities; where she gushes lovingly about her husband; where she seems joyful and full of hope. Something else paradoxical is how much anxiety Sylvia often has about her talents, her potential, her future. It may seem strange that someone so enormously talented could be insecure but it shows that no artist is immune to self-doubt, no matter how gifted they are. For that, I would also recommend this to any creative person (especially those who write) because Plath brilliantly describes the uncertainty that often accompanies creativity.

My only complaint is the editing. I understand that the editor wanted to remain as faithful to the original journals by cutting out as little as possible. But, as noble as her intentions were, this collection could've been trimmed somewhat, just for organization's sake.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Read!
Sylvia Plath was both fascinating and Brilliant. This compilation is amazing and really gives you more insight into her life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and inspiring work!
A rare glimpse into the complicated mind of a true poetic genius.This book is highly enlightening and a must-read for Plath fans and book aficionados alike.It is such a shame that Hughes destroyed the journals following the ones published in this work.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Intimate View of Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath manages to shed a brilliant light on her life and experience through this diary that is sometimes painful and that often paints her experience with a beautiful and poetic richness, color and brilliance. Daily events come alive with unexpected meanings and shades of feelings through her carefully constructed prose. In one instance she describes her experience, waiting in a car, with the rain drumming on the roof, near the ocean with such amazing clarity and such a striking portrayal of her sense impressions that the passage leaves one breathless. I don't think I have ever read anything quite like that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic insight to a brilliant mind
My knowledge of Sylvia Plath was pretty limited in that I didn't read her poems and breezed through The Bell Jar, but I had picked up this book on a whim, thumbed to a random page and what I read was amazing. This book is more than a book about a famous writer with a tragic life. What surprised me was how strangely enough, ordinary, and beautiful her thoughts were. These were written for her eyes only, just her private thoughts and ambitions. As she moves through life, you see her grow and change, eventually becoming the extraordinary woman she's famous for. ... Read more

2. Ariel: The Restored Edition
by Sylvia Plath
Paperback: 224 Pages (2007-04-05)
list price: US$15.78 -- used & new: US$8.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 057123609X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Upon the publication of her posthumous volume of poetry, "Ariel", in the mid-1960s, Sylvia Plath became a household name. Readers may be surprised to learn that the draft of "Ariel" left behind by Sylvia Plath when she died in 1963 is different from the volume of poetry eventually published to worldwide acclaim. This facsimile edition restores, for the first time, the selection and arrangement of the poems as Sylvia Plath left them at the point of her death. In addition to the facsimile pages of Sylvia Plath's manuscript, this edition also includes in facsimile the complete working drafts of the title poem "Ariel" in order to offer a sense of Plath's creative process, as well as notes the author made for the BBC about some of the manuscript's poems.Amazon.com Review
Sylvia Plath churned out her final poems at the remarkable rate of two or three a day, and Robert Lowell describes them as written by "hardly aperson at all ... but one of those super-real, hypnotic, great classicalheroines." Even more remarkable, she wrote them during one of the coldest,snowiest winters (1962-63) Londoners have ever known. Snowbound, withoutcentral heating, she and her two children spent much of their timesniffling, coughing, or running temperatures (In "Fever 103°" she writes, "I have been flickering, off, on, off on. / The sheets grow heavy as alecher's kiss."). Pipes froze, lights failed, and candles were unobtainable.

As if these physical privations weren't enough, Plath was out in the coldin another sense--her husband, Ted Hughes, had lefther for another woman earlier that year. Despite all this (or perhapsbecause of it), the Ariel poems dazzle with their lyricism, theirsurprising and vivid imagery, and their wit. Rather than confining herself toher bleak surroundings, Plath draws from a wide array of experience. In"Berck-Plage," for instance, clouds are "electrifyingly-coloured sherbets,scooped from the freeze." In "The Night Dances," the poet stands crib-side, reveling in her son's own brand of do-si-do: "Such pure leaps andspirals--Surely they travel / The world forever, I shall not entirely / Sitemptied of beauties, the gift / Of your small breath..."

Though at times they present the reader with hopelessness laid bare, thesepoems also teem with the brightest shards of a life, confounding those whomerely look for the words of a gloomy, dispassionate suicide. Plath roseeach morning in the final months of her life to "that still blue,almost eternal hour before the baby's cry" and left us these words like"axes/After whose stroke the woodrings..." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (56)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stark and World-Weary
"Ariel," a volume of poems composed mostly before Plath decided to end her own ecstatically troubled life, is an offering that teems with the playfulness of language, bitter cynicism, and ultimately refigures mundane experience into a near-religious profundity.

Perhaps this is the aim is all poetry - to reorient the way that we see things, the way that we absorb and incorporate experience.But even the cliché can do this.But none of Plath's poems in this book, not even the worst among them, are that.In "Getting There," the motion of the train is seen as an infinite edacity: "What do wheels eat, these wheels / Fixed to their arcs like gods, / The silver leash of the will - / Inexorable."Later in the poem, we learn that the train is carrying the body of a dead woman and her funeral procession.But this death - "I shall bury the wounded like pupas" - is really nothing but a transmogrifying rebirth."And I, stepping from this skin / Of old bandages, boredoms, old faces / Step to you from the black car of Lethe, / Pure as a baby."

"Daddy," the poem with which most readers will be familiar even if they have not read the rest of the poems, begins as a threnody in memory of her father, but grows into a caustic, brooding indictment utilizing the extended poetic conceit of the Holocaust.In this poem, Plato deals with the betrayal of her father by constructing her poem around the oppressor/oppressed dichotomy.It also references "The vampire who said he was you / And drank my blood for a year, / Seven years, if you want to know" in a none-too-ambiguous reference to her relationship with her husband, fellow poet Ted Hughes.

As with many other poems in "Ariel," the effect of poetry that is so troubled and biographical - so confessional - is nothing less than revelatory, hieratic in its insistence that we should rethink ideas of violence and love.

5-0 out of 5 stars an examination of the human condition
I bought this book in 2005, I loved the wonderful ride, examination of the human condition/examination of women's role in society. Plath uses a mind blowing spectrum of images that dance in your head and stay forever and filter your view of the world and all it's nuances and heart ache.

5-0 out of 5 stars Plath Is Lady Lazarus
This book poems from the final, anguished months of Sylvia Plath's life is exquisite. Each of the poems has a manic honesty and power enough to break your heart. By far the best of Plath's poetic output, these poems will haunt you as if they themselves are Plath's ghost.

3-0 out of 5 stars Does this Really Add Much?
I'm not a big fan of this version. I think the Collected Poems are much better.

It's terribly designed, cheaply put together. And unfortunately I think the original Ariel is a better sequence...but that's just my opinion...

I really don't think this added much to my Plath collection (or obsession). Maybe if it came out in a beautiful edition it would be worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE Ariel...
As a writer, I don't know what people are thinking... It's the author's right to organize their own work. Someone else does (Ted) not make a better version! Only she knows what she was trying to create. This is a great book! ... Read more

3. The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath
Paperback: 288 Pages (2006-10-01)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$8.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061148512
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.

Amazon.com Review
Plath was an excellent poet but is known to many for thislargely autobiographical novel. The Bell Jar tells the story ofa gifted young woman's mental breakdown beginning during a summerinternship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in theearly 1950s. The real Plath committed suicide in 1963 and left behindthis scathingly sad, honest and perfectly-written book, which remainsone of the best-told tales of a woman's descent into insanity. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (527)

5-0 out of 5 stars Still overlooked and undervalued. Why?
I reread the Bell Jar every couple of years and have done so since I was 18.It's so much more than a morbid ride or a thinly-veiled autobiography.It's one of few great coming-of-age stories that we have as women.I've long since stopped reading this book as a glimpse into Sylvia's soul or coming suicide.I've also stopped reading it as a precursor to the coming feminist movement of the 1960s.I'm drawn back to it again and again because it's simply a well-told story.It's subtle, complex and occasionally very very funny.

There have been plenty of novels that since The Bell Jar have described in painstaking detail the morbid coldness of a psych ward experience, and people who've been through it may more closely relate with these recent
works, as certainly the psychiatric field has changed since 1953. However, Plath's experience is both personal yet easily relatable. We feel in her body when she's receiving the electric shock treatments; we feel in her head as she tries to make sense of why death is so appealing; we feel in her heart as she tries to understand what love is, and why she hasn't even come close to it. Plath clouds Esther's thoughts with plenty of vivid imagery and similes, and by the book's completion, we wish it wasn't over.



4-0 out of 5 stars Loved The Bell Jar
I read this book over the summer for school and I really loved it. I usually don't enjoy AP list books but I decided to give it a try because I needed a quick read. It was better than I expected and extremely well written. Some parts were a bit slow, but overall it was very good, and the ending was great.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible book!
This book is great. It is so nice to see a book written in this time period, about the time period. The sad story in this book gave great insight into the treatment of women, both in normal society and in mental institutions. It painted a clear picture of what was typical of women at this time, such as typical schooling, dating and sexuality in relationships, and "normal" behavior.
As someone interested in entering the mental health field, it really shows the changes that have been made to the health care system and how some people were stuck in the system based on their lack of funds and availability of skilled and caring doctors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't read if you're already down, but great insight.
Sylvia really writes from a "someone who gets it" perspective. I appreciate her raw demeanor and honesty. I found myself relating to her immediately as she drew my mind further and further onto the pages of this novel.

***Caution: Unfortunately, I was already at a low point in my emotional cycles (BPD and BD), so when she was contemplating suicide, so was I. By continuing reading I pushed myself all the way over the edge and woke up alive the next day in the ICU at a hospital. So, DO NOT READ if you are at all at a low point!!! ... Read more

4. Rough Magic: A Biography of Sylvia Plath
by Paul Alexander
Paperback: 440 Pages (2003-09-18)
list price: US$18.50 -- used & new: US$5.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0306812991
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Since her infamous suicide at age thirty, Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) has been celebrated for her impeccable and ruthless poetry, which excels at describing the most extreme reaches of human consciousness and passions. The bestselling autobiographical novel The Bell Jar illuminated her life for millions of fans, followed by The Colossus, Ariel, and the Pulitzer-Prize winning Collected Poems.

Based on exclusive interviews and extensive archival research, Rough Magic probes the events of Plath's life-including her turbulent marriage to the English poet Ted Hughes-in the first biography to take a compassionate view of this fiercely talented, deeply troubled artist. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great insight into Sylvia Plath
Offering great insight into the events in her life that shaped her writings, ROUGH MAGIC is a significant account of the life and death of Sylvia Plath.The author carefully researched all available letters and works of Sylvia Plath, and interviewed as many major influences in her life as he was able to (Ted Hughes famously never interviewed with anyone).I was looking for a foray into how a writers so best by mental health issues could still write such brilliant prose and poetry, and this biography fit the bill.

5-0 out of 5 stars well written, detailed biography
After reading the Bell Jar, Johnny Panic & the Bible of Dreams, and some of the journals of Sylvia Plath, it is fascinating to read the biography, since many of her characters and her stories are based on people she knew and events that occurred. The author carefully gathered numerous interviews and details to complete this great book. It was written so well that it was hard to put down.

5-0 out of 5 stars very good selection
This book is written in a way that is both interesting and informative. I found it to be a very good reference as to the background and life of Sylvia Plath.

3-0 out of 5 stars Rough Biography
When it comes to straight facts, Rough Magic is a perfectly good biography of Sylvia Plath. It outlines her life, in great detail, from birth to death and includes a brief biography of her parents as well.

However, it is also a heavily biased tale of Sylvia Plath's life that casts Plath in a rosy glow -- she becomes the brilliant artist, devoted and doting wife, incredible mother, and fragile genius. It comes as no surprise that Rough Magic slants in this direction; it was written without input from the Hughes' and with a lot of input from Aurelia Plath, Sylvia Plath's mother.

By nature, all good biographies are biased; the biographer collects the facts about a person's life and shapes them into a coherent narrative. This involves deducing motives and making decisions. Paul Alexander chooses to portray Plath's motives and actions as nothing but pure and well intentioned, in contrast to other Plath biographies such as Sylvia Plath: Method and Madness: A Biography, and Her Husband: Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath--A Marriage, which paint Plath in a more selfish and (in my opinion) human light.

It's impossible to truly know someone by reading their biography, especially a person like Plath, whose life and death are cloaked in controversy. The Plath estate notoriously controls all biographies (at least the ones containing quotations from Plath's work) with an iron fist. Plath's family is tight-lipped unless the biography will portray Plath in a favorable light. The result is that it becomes difficult for biographers to gain the good graces of both sides, and most biographies skew anti-Plath (towards the Plath Estate) or pro-Plath (towards Plath's family). Rough Magic falls firmly in the latter category.

Despite it's obvious bias, Rough Magic is worth a read for seasoned Plath scholars. However, if one is looking to acquire a first biography about Plath, I suggest the aforementioned Sylvia Plath: Method and Madness: A Biography.

3-0 out of 5 stars Borderline--the book and the personality
Two parts to this review--first, the book itself: it was interesting and a quick read, but at times tedious in its detail--do I really care how many inches Sylvia grew in her first year? It is, which I suppose is not surprising, somewhat overly sympathetic to its subject, Miss Plath, who I found quite honestly to be dislikable and tiresome for the most part. I'm sorry her father died when she was eight, but was irritated at the frequency which this was referred to as a root of her problems.
Second, does Sylvia strike anyone else as more borderline personality than depressive? The intense stormy relationships, the hypersensitivity to criticism, impulsivity and unstable sense of self--I couldn't get the diagnosis of BPD out of my mind throughout. ... Read more

5. The Spoken Word: Sylvia Plath (British Library - British Library Sound Archive)
by The British Library
Audio CD: 1 Pages (2010-07-15)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$10.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0712351027
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Sylvia Plath is widely regarded as one of the most influential American authors of the twentieth century. Her frank, confessional style of writing, combined with her marriage to fellow poet Ted Hughes and her tragic suicide at age thirty have created an enduring literacy legacy and public fascination.

      This CD brings together BBC recordings from the British Library Sound Archive and features Plath reading many of her poems, such as “Leaving Early,” “Candles,” “Tulips,” “The Surgeon at 2 a.m.,” and “Berck-Plage.” In addition, the disc presents Plath discussing poetic craft and her move to Britain, as well as a significantly revealing interview with Plath and Hughes, in which they talk about their famous marriage and what it means to live with your muse.

      Many of these recordings are available here for the first time, and together they will be a must-have for fans of Plath and twentieth-century poetry.


... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sylvia Plath on her poems, being married to a writer, and her love of British butcher's shops
It's been a long time coming. To date, there have been three key audio releases concerning the US poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963): Sylvia Plath Reads (1977/1992), The Poet Speaks (1982/1995), and The Voice of the Poet (1999). But this new CD is special: it contains a previously unreleased live recording of Plath reading a poem in a London theatre, providing listeners with the chance to experience the poet with new, tantalising immediacy. All of her other known poetry recordings occurred in radio studios (usually at the BBC or the British Council). But here, she is introduced by a male host to a live audience and loud applause. She was a relatively unknown poet at the time, more famous as the wife of British poet Ted Hughes than as a writer in her own right.

The Spoken Word CD also contains a 20-minute interview with Plath and Hughes, in which they talk about where they were born, how they met, the differences and similarities between their writing styles, and their placidly domestic life in north London. In contrast to the dark myth that rose about her following her suicide in 1963 aged 30 and which rapidly spread as more and more poems - partly of an unforgiving, terrifying nature, but which also showed sharp wit and humour - came to light, Plath sounds relaxed, chatty and open. In another recording included here, What Made You Stay, Plath is interviewed alone and really comes into her own (it was conducted a month before her marriage collapsed in the wake of Hughes's affair with Assia Wevill). She talks wittily of her first impressions of England, being offered the choice of a hot water bottle or a cat before she went to bed, and her wonder at seeing real dead pigs and slabs of meat at the local butchers instead of neatly cellophaned chops filling the shelves of the supermarkets she knew from her childhood in Massachusetts.

The recordings, which are presented chronologically, took place in the last two and a half years of her life between October 1960 and January 1963. Alongside these interviews and the live theatre recording, Plath reads nine of her poems, mostly from the 'earlier' period of her writing career. Peter K Steinberg, author of the blog Sylvia Plath Info, provides a 6-page introduction in the booklet. The CD ends on what was probably the last audio recording that Plath made: a mere 32 days before her suicide (the influenza that deepened her difficulties and sense of hopelessness towards the end can be heard), the poet discusses and reads extracts from a new anthology of American verse. This is unmissable, essential listening. (5 stars)

Track listing (the speaker is Plath unless noted otherwise):

1. a) Leaving Early
b) Candles
2. Two of a Kind
a) Radio interview with Plath and Ted Hughes, 18.01.1961
b) Mushrooms (+ introduction)
c) Pike (read + introduced by Ted Hughes)
3. a) The Disquieting Muses (+ introduction)
b) Spinster (+ introduction)
c) Parliament Hill Fields (+ introduction)
d) The Stones (+ introduction)
4. Live poetry reading at the Mermaid Theatre, London, 17.07.1961
a) Plath introduced by unknown male moderator
b) Tulips (+ introducton)
5. The Surgeon at 2 a.m. (+ introduction)
6. What Made You Stay? Recorded interview with Plath on why she chose to live and work in the UK 14.04.1962
7. Berck-Plage
8. Plath reviews a recent anthology entitled Contemporary American Poetry, 10.01.1963

Duration: 73 minutes ... Read more

6. The Colossus and Other Poems
by Sylvia Plath
Paperback: 96 Pages (1998-05-19)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$7.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375704469
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
With this startling, exhilarating book of poems, which was first published in 1960, Sylvia Plath burst into literature with spectacular force. In such classics as "The Beekeeper's Daughter," "The Disquieting Muses," "I Want, I Want," and "Full Fathom Five," she writes about sows and skeletons, fathers and suicides, about the noisy imperatives of life and the chilly hunger for death. Graceful in their craftsmanship, wonderfully original in their imagery, and presenting layer after layer of meaning, the forty poems in The Colossus are early artifacts of genius that still possess the power to move, delight, and shock.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

3-0 out of 5 stars Plath's model of poetic craft
In a well-known 1962 radio interview with Peter Orr of the British Council, Sylvia Plath downplayed her achievements in 'The Colossus' by explaining that she was 'bored' with the poems.By this time, she had entered the period of freer forms and dazzling imagery that fueled 'Ariel,' a volume now securing her legacy.

Plath died at a young age and might have changed her mind about 'The Colossus' poems had she lived long enough to reevaluate them.Fortunately, her public sees a great deal of the collection's value, at least in terms of its refinement and precision.Even when disregarding its subject matters, 'The Colossus' can be viewed as a woman's treatise on the poetic art.

First published in 1960, 'The Colossus & Other Poems' offers forty titles, many of which were written at the Yaddo artists' colony in Saratoga Springs, New York, and published in such magazines as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and Encounter.The poems do not follow a specific order, but are arranged to supply contrasts in mood.Several of Plath's best known poems, including 'Night Shift,' 'The Colossus,' 'The Disquieting Muses,' 'The Beekeeper's Daughter,' and 'The Stones,' can be found in this 84-page collection.

On the surface, Plath's early poetry looks naïve.Her stanzas are always flush left with capital letters.The number of lines per stanza is usually consistent.Her metrics are flawless.But when examining the poems repeatedly, it becomes clear that Plath's work has manifold meanings; how deeply we see is based on how deeply we're willing to look.Even in simple narratives like 'Sow,' 'The Bull of Bendylaw,' and 'Snakecharmer,' Plath seems to be winking at us through her underlying ideas on human relationships.

Perhaps the strongest element of Plath's verse is its compactness.For such a range of images and emotions, her poems are quite short, rarely lasting beyond two pages.By her mid-to-late twenties, Plath had already disposed of excess, working powerful ideas into taut lines and stanzas.She had also completely mastered techniques such as 'internal' rhyme, alliteration, and enjambment, helped by her love of Shakespeare, Donne, Yeats, Auden, and other immortals.

Plath's choice of 'The Colossus' as her focal poem is interesting, since female oppression does not seem a prevailing theme of this volume.'The Colossus' is a poem of thirty lines, the first-person account of a woman who must serve as caretaker to the Colossus of Rhodes, a crumbling monument for god Helios.This poem foresees the later Plath of 'Daddy,' 'Lady Lazarus,' and 'The Moon and the Yew Tree,' where she openly rebels against a society that has confined women to limited roles.

Signs of the later Plath are also noticeable in poems such as 'Lorelei,' 'The Ghost's Leavetaking,' 'Full Fathom Five,' and 'The Stones.'These poems are intensely personal, stem from Plath's distinctly feminine voice, and seamlessly combine the real with the subconscious.The only factor working against this volume is the repetitiveness of Plath's imagery as her poems roll on: we are shown oceans, the Moon, and rocks a few times too many.Still, this can be forgiven with the variety of form and approach that Plath offers us.Even if we are looking at a sea or rock for the umpteenth time, we are never looking at it in exactly the same way.

'The Colossus & Other Poems' is too frequently judged as a testing ground for 'Ariel' rather than as a mature collection in its own right.The fact that 'Ariel' became a posthumous sensation hasn't helped 'The Colossus' at all, but it has luckily held its ground amongst readers.I have to claim myself as a member of the group who prefers these poems over 'Ariel.'As a person interested in new ways to utilize old ideas, I am fascinated by how Plath used strict forms as a foundation for her modern creative energies.

Those who have read 'The Colossus' may recall a Vintage softcover edition with blue and orange bars on its cover.In 1998, Vintage International made cosmetic changes; while the inside retains its large typeface, the cover is now in orange, black, and cream with a famous photograph of Plath sitting with her typewriter atop a stone barrier in Yorkshire.This edition and past releases are available just about everywhere, along with her 'Ariel' poems, prose, and published journals.

4-0 out of 5 stars Exploring Plath's early work
Sylvia Plath is well reputed as a poet. Her untimely death, at too early an age, silenced her poetic voice. This book represents one of her early works.

Her poetry is not beautiful or lyric or elegiac.There is a hardness, almost a clinical coldness, to the verses, and some dark themes recur. And some odds poems based on intriguingly selected facts.

Of the latter. . . . A stone coffin from the 4th century AD in Cambridge (England) contains skeletons of a woman, a mouse, and a shrew.The woman's ankle bone was slightly gnawed. Here are a couple lines from "All the Dead Dears."

". . .
Relics of a mouse and a shrew
That battened for a day on her ankle-bone.

These three, unmasked now, bear
Dry witness
To the gross eating game. . ."

"The Manor Garden"

"The fountains are dry and the roses over.
Incense of death. Your day approaches.
The pears fatten like little buddhas.
A bleu mist is dragging the lake.

. . . .

Two suicides, the family wolves,
Hours of blankness. . . ."

"Frog Autumn"

"Summer grows old, cold-blooded mother.
The insects are scant, skinny.
In these palustral homes we only
Croak and wither."

And, since I grew up on a farm and--for a time--saw many hogs in our hog house, I cannot resist noting this poem--"Sow."

"God knows how our neighbor managed to breed
His great sow:
Whatever his shrewd secret, he kept it hid...

In the same way
He kept the sow--impounded from public stare,
Prize ribbon and pig show."

If you are interested in the earlier works of Plath, this is an obvious work to explore. As one comment says on the back cover of the book: "[Plath] steers clear of feminine charm, deliciousness, gentility, supersensitivity and the act of being a poet.She simply writes good poetry."

5-0 out of 5 stars Genius' Magnet
"Compelled by calamity's magnet/They loiter and stare" begins the poem "Aftermath" by Sylvia Plath in "The Colossus." In this striking collection of living language, Plath gives us a hearty portion of her verbose verse. "The Colossus and Other Poems" was written when Plath was heavy on the thesaurus, and it shows. These poems are so rife with description that one feels the need to read them several times over.

Compared to Ariel, "The Colossus" is meticulous, planned, deliberate. While "Ariel" sparks lingual clusters of abstraction into the brain of the reader, the poems in this collection are deciphered with relative ease. Though gorgeously crafted, the poems are, mostly, straightforward.
Of course, Plath's characteristic grimness is not lost in her more formal work here. Throughout "Colossus" we see glimmers of the darkness that defined her later work. And, as with most of Plath's poetry, the macabre is often moot compared to the dazzling language and visual strength of her writing.

"The Colossus and Other Poems" is a diverse, magnificent collection. From Plath's native New England to mushrooms and sows to "The Colossus" itself, Plath weaved a masterful tapestry of words.
We can't help but "loiter and stare."

4-0 out of 5 stars does not make the art of writing good poems seem easy
The Colossus," from what I understand, was Plath's first published collection of poetry. During this early phase of Plath's career, she still treated the act of writing poetry as a laborious and painstaking process, often diligently lookig up words in the thesaurus and then inserting many synonyms of one word into a single composition. This rather pedantic attitude toward poetry shows in these poems, many of which devoutly adhere to difficult rhyme schemes (albeit frequently using slant rhymes) and all of which are marked by a studied attention to detail, both visual and sonic. These poems simply don't *soar* the way the free-verse poems in "Ariel" (Plath's second book) do; they are just not as vibrant or as lively as her later work. These are bleak poems, characterized by a wealth of vivid tactile detail, but somewhat lacking in color and movement. Plath frequently uses the terza-rima rhyme scheme that Dante patented, as though to suggest that life, for her, is a slow, laborious plod into (or through?) hell. In this book, Plath shows that she can write good poems, but she does not make the art of writing good poems seem easy.

I do not, however, mean to imply that this is not a useful book for aspiring poets to read. It is, doubtless, a very important book to read if one wishes to understand how Plath developed into the brilliant, oracular voice that spouted "Ariel." And since Sylvia Plath started writing poetry seriously at a very early age, it is perhaps unfair to dismissively refer to this book -- which she published at the ripe old age of 25 -- as her "early work." There are many remarkable things about this book, not the least of which is the way Plath elevates mundane topics (e.g., men working the night shift, or prize pigs) to the level of high poetry, armoring them with an impervious Dante-esque dignity. To Plath, even the smallest things in life are worthy of attention.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unacknowledged Classic
Not Plaths's most famous book, obviously, but quite arguably her best, Colossus is cool and totally controlled.Here Plath finally refines what she had started doing from teenhood -- please consult the juvenelia in Collected Poems to confirm this.Images of distant objectivity are chosen as pivots for the most intimate meditations, physical and personal. The "I" is often seen as if under a microscope, to a degree beyond what was earlier achieved by her tutor confessional poets such as Robert Lowell.Indeed this may eventually be seen as her lasting poetic achievement -- carrying the confessional theory quickly to its absolute brink -- and this book is where it finally breaks the surface of the water successfully.

Painfully, Plath -- an almost merciless keeper of diaries, journals, and notes -- records here the exact incident of her transformation -- in "The Eye Mote."Perhaps lacking the drama of later poems, it is all the more revealing, heavily sad, doubtless true.And the incident (perhaps half-imagined, half real) has nothing of the cultural or personal overlays one finds in 95% of the Plath literature, pro and con.It has a lot more to do with the theory and practice of confessional poetry itself -- its breath-taking possibilities and vast opportunities for a dreadful slip from its tightrope act. ... Read more

7. Crossing the Water
by Sylvia Plath
Paperback: 64 Pages (1980-06-09)
list price: US$10.99 -- used & new: US$4.21
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Asin: 0060907894
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Poetry of Sylvia Plath. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Crossing the Water
The product got here much earlier than the estimated date of delivery.It was really nice.The only issue I had, was that it was marked new, and although it was in great condition it had a name written in it.This wouldn't have bothered me except for it was a gift, and I was expecting a brand new book.If I had known it was written in I would have bought something different.

5-0 out of 5 stars How harsh and wild the metaphor Excess of feeling in poetry is no vice
This volume was put together by Ted Hughes after the death of Sylvia Plath. It contains poems written in the period between the publication of 'Colossus' and her later most famous collection'Ariel.' I know Plath's writing in a quite superficial way and would in any sense have difficulty affirming or disaffirming the iconic status she has attained in the world of poetry.
I in truth did not find the poems on the whole on what I would call the 'legendary level' that of Dickinson, Hopkins, Wallace Stevens, Yeats, those whose music make their lines incredibly memorable.
But I did find in these poems many startling and surprising lines, a world of metaphor extremely rich and often disconcerting. These are the poems, of a true original whose voice is pitched extremely high. They are poems in which the language too seems searching to reach an extreme level of feeling.
Perhaps the most well- known poem of the collection is the award winning 'Insomniac' which closes with a stanza typical of Plath.

"Nightlong , in the granite yard ,invisible cats
Have been howling like women, or damaged instruments.
Already he can feel daylight, his white disease,
Creeping up with her hatful of trivial repetitions.
The city is a map of cheerful twitters now,
And everywhere people, eyes mica- silver and blank,
Are riding to work in rows, as if recently brainwashed."

A happier and somewhat milder mood is expressed in the poem 'Love Letter' which I take to be about her relationship with Ted Hughes.
It opens with the following stanza.

"Not easy to state the change you made.
If I'm alive now, then I was dead,
Though , like a stone , unbothered by it,
Staying put according to habit.
You didn't just toeme an inch,no-
Nor leave me to set my small bald eye
Skyward again, without hope, of course,
Of apprehending blueness, or stars.

The poetry has a clear and coherent , readily readable structure of simple sentences. But those sentences are so complicated and charged with metaphor and feeling that they are difficult to decipher and comprehend. Their music is however far from being simply lyrical, but rather is harsh, discordant wild and searching.

A true poet yes, but not one to give us calm or peace, or certitude or help from pain.

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly transitional poems
This is probably my favorite collection of Plath poetry, although some of my favorite poems aren't in here (Morning Song is my very favorite). From the time I looked at the cover (dark waves at night, what could be betterfor the writer who crossed the Atlantic to die by her own hand?) to thelast poem in the book, I felt that I was seeing Plath's vision at its mostclearly expressed. You can feel the dark weight of her impending collapse,but her head is still above water, so to speak. I also think that it's thebook with the least amount of self-pity; she's strongest as a poet and as aperson in this collection. This is not to discount Ariel, which containsome of her best poems, but they're like flashes of lightning in a grey skyof self-pity. In Crossing the Water, on the other hand, we get to see theloneliness of the long distance swimmer, sure and strong, who knows she'sheading into danger. ... Read more

8. Letters Home: Correspondence 1950-1963
by Sylvia Plath
Paperback: 512 Pages (1992-04-08)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$11.99
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Asin: 0060974915
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Sylvia Plath's correspondence, addressed chiefly to her mother, from her time at Smith College in the early 1950s up to her suicide in London in February 1963. In addition to her capacity for domestic and writerly happiness, these letters also hint at her potential for deep despair. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars The Wrath of Plath . . .
is nowwhere to be found here.I knew that Sylvia Plath's letters to her mother and brother were (over) edited by her husband, Ted Hughes so I was forewarned somewhat.But I read very favorable reviews here on amazon.com. so I decided to pick up Letters Home.Well, I'm here to say I was very disappointed.Yes, it's well written, and you do get a sense, however limited, of Sylvia's lifeand routine. But as to her inner conflicts and conflicts with other people and situations?Not at all.Nobody reads Plath for the warm and fuzzy, frankly.Her true fans want The Wrath of Plath!Not how wonderful her husband and baby or babies were.Or what a delicious meal she cooked or ate.Or favorable early impressions of her husband's mother and sister, who she later came to dislike strongly.

Too bad we couldn't get the "full monty" with this volume.

Siouxie, Bronx

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I love reading about Syliva Plath's life so if your a fan then this is definatley a book to add to your collection. It's a long read, not something you can just go through in a few days. This is a book you take your time with.

5-0 out of 5 stars Engrossing.
After reading The Bell Jar I wanted to know everything I could possibly know about Sylvia Plath.I'd never read an author's journal or letters before, and I loved it! (It was one of my top ten reads of 2008.)

I love all the technology available to us today, but e-mail has certainly killed the magic of letters. This book has something like 1,000 letters from Sylvia, mostly to her mother.And yes, they are edited; and while at times you could certainly see Sylvia's mother making sure everybody knows she was a good mother, they are edited very well.

The letters read like narrative, taking you through a really interesting life story.Anyone interested in Plath should make this a must read.Between this and The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, I found Letters Home to be much faster paced and overall engrossing.

One day I may go back and read Letters Home and the journals simultaneously to see the differences in the letters vs. the journals during the same periods.

I highly recommend this book.Whether you are a fan of Plath's or just interested in the pre-techology life of a student, lover, wife, mother, you can't help but be captivated.

5-0 out of 5 stars Happy Girl
Letter Home contains all of the letters that Sylvia wrote to her Mother, Warren and Mrs Prouty from 1950-1963 and span her university life, up to her marriage to Ted Hughes and beyond.
The best thing about this book is the enthusiasm for study, success and a family that Plath shows in the letters.
As a fan I often imagine her as a moody person like her poems sometimes suggests but Plath appears happy and full of life and love in each letter.
I particularly enjoyed the letters from the time she met Ted and started a family with him as their plans and gaining success were so well deserved and interesting.
Letters Home comes with an introduction by Plath's Mother who also adds a few bits of context throughout.
I stopped reading after the birth of her second child as the letters became quite sad and as a fan I knew what was going to happen and didn't want to ruin the way the book showed a very happy side of Plath.
I particularly liked the following passage that Plath wrote advising a boy suffering a breakdown similar to hers:
`When he dies, his marks will not be written on his gravestone.If he loved a book, been kind to someone, enjoyed a certain colour in the sea - that is the thing that show whether he has lived.'
I recommend this to all Plath fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must
From Aurelia Plath's intimate introduction and comments throughout to Sylvia's personal words and insights, I can't praise this book enough. Sylvia's growth as a writer and a woman are charted here. Her relationship with Mrs. Prouty is more intimately revealed as well. A must! ... Read more

9. Her Husband: Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath--A Marriage
by Diane Middlebrook
Paperback: 384 Pages (2004-08-31)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$0.65
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Asin: 0142004871
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath were husband and wife; they were also two of the most remarkable poets of the twentieth century. In this stunning new account of their marriage, Diane Middlebrook draws on a trove of newly available papers to craft a beautifully written portrait of Hughes as a man, as a poet, and as a husband haunted—and nourished—his entire life by his relationship to Sylvia Plath.

Her Husband is a triumph of the biographer’s art and an up-close look at a couple who saw each other as the means to becoming who they wanted to be: writers and mythic representations of a whole generation. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful portrait of Hughes and Plath
I loved this book. Diane Middlebrook approaches the subject respectfully and without bias, which really brought it home for me. I found it interesting because it really discusses the ins and outs of the marriage between Plath and Hughes, focusing specifically on the creative connection they felt with each other. The book is organized chronologically in stages of the relationship. It's certainly not your typical biography.

Middlebrook has a flowing writing style that made this book fun to read. You can tell she understands the importance of words--it shows in her analyses and also her own writing style.

And yes, there is a lot of analysis in this book. Personally, I loved getting the psychological and emotional background behind the poetry. This was, I thought, one of the greatest things about the book. If you like studying poetry and literature like me, you will love this biography. If you are looking for something more thrilling and tawdry, I'd go watch the movie "Sylvia."

3-0 out of 5 stars Reads like a thesis paper
I don't hate this book, but it assumes that one has significant knowledge of the artists' bodies of work, making reference to poems without giving any context or appendixing the passages to which it refers.I suppose I expected something a lot more personal and a little less mechanical, from the title of the book -- not a romance novel, don't get me wrong, but something more human, and more psychologically interesting.I honestly am having trouble getting through it, so I just wanted to bring some balance to the other reviews. It isn't BAD, but make sure you know what you're getting.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Passion and Pyre of Mr. and Mrs. Hughes
Anyone fairly acquainted with modern poets will of course stumble across the marital storyline of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.In biographies I look for accuracy, dynamic writing, and the ability to have the reader feel as though they are part of the history, albeit in the shadows, listening and breathing it in.This book does an informative and exhaustively researched job in presenting a human and heartbreaking rendering of Syliva and Ted.The bias is hesitant in assigning blame to one or the other, but hopes to show the frailty and humanity in both of these intelligent individuals, whilst keeping the history and richness of both parties personalities and their artistry keenly alive.At no point did I find this tedious to read and I had a great interest in the unraveling of their marriage and I sympathize with the holding power of these two, not only their love affair, but their power as poets.It's a lovely, engaging story at it's most primitive level and a fantastic analysis of two wonderfully creative souls and the forces that drove them together and incidentally cast them apart. ... Read more

10. Collected Children's Stories (Faber Children's Classics)
by Sylvia Plath
Paperback: 128 Pages (2001-04-09)
list price: US$7.90 -- used & new: US$3.50
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Asin: 0571207561
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Three classic children's stories from Sylvia Plath are collected together in one volume for the first time, they are: "Mrs Cherry's Kitchen, "The Bed Book" and "The It-Doesn't-Matter Suit". ... Read more

11. Sylvia Plath: Method and Madness: A Biography
by Edward Butscher
Paperback: 408 Pages (2003-10-01)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$12.28
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Asin: 0971059829
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This is the first full-length biography of Sylvia Plath, whose suicide made her a misinterpreted cause celebre and catapulted her into the ranks of the major confessional voices of her generation. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars A life more interesting than her poetry
It is difficult to give a fair opinion of a biography of a person whose works you like, especially if there are things in the book you don't want to hear. I was never a fan of Sylvia Plath but I do enjoy biographies and I did enjoy this one. For those who enjoyed her poems, If they can toss them aside, we are left with a person who dwelt upon herself alone seeking attention from all. That, as I see it was her problem.
I found this biography to be very entertaining but I would not have liked Sylvia Plath as a person. Way too depressing and negative. It should be noted that none of her poetry became popular until after her death and the publication of"The Bell Jar." That book alone sold more copies than all of her poetry put together. It is that fact reconized by many that her suicide alone, along with the book's publication is what soared her into fame. As the product description states. "whose suicide made her a misinterpreted cause celebre and catapulted her into the ranks of the major confessional voices of her generation."
I would recommend this book by Butsher to anyone interested in a very good and well written biography.

5-0 out of 5 stars the history behind a literary legend
this was a great exploration of what elements brought together this great literary giant who left us too soon.From first hand testimonials of college friends and former neighbors from her quaint home in Devon, England, you realize what kind of savory poetic stew was made from which millions have eaten.

1-0 out of 5 stars Condescending biographer
Anything about Sylvia Plath is interesting, and I love reading about her life.But the more I read of this book, the more annoyed I became at the author because he came off as so condescending towards Sylvia Plath.His attitude seemed condescending, almost as if he was holding her in contempt.I didn't enjoy his analysis of her poems, largely because, instead of quoting the poem or even just individual stanzas, he paraphrased the poems he was discussing, only directly quoting certain lines.That is not good enough.To paraphrase a poem and then conduct an analysis of it is just not, to my mind, appropriate.Also, I like a biographer to be either neutral about the person he is discussing, or to show some admiration and fondness for the subject.In this book, I got the sense that the author didn't like Sylvia very much.He may not feel this way at all, but the way he writes and the way he approaches her poems is as if he is looking down at her, as if she were just a petulant girl.She deserves better than that.She deserves to be respected as a solid poet who created images with words no one else had ever before created, even if, maybe especially because, those images are very hard to look at.She earned a place next to Ted Hughes and Robert Lowell as a major confessional poet, and I think those who write about her life should respect her.

I wound up switching to Bitter Fame by Anne Stevenson, and it's a much better experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars Plath and Men
I have read several books on Plath and also a good part of her journal, but from this review on amazon I learned a little more of her romance with Myron Lotz the Yale med student. Lotz was from my hometown, Warren OH and in fact his home was just a block away from mine in an ethnic neighborhood. His brother Ted whom Plath also mentions, was president of my class at Warren G. Harding High School. Plath is quite interesting from a psychological standpoint...her work as a confessional poet is rather depressing. I sort of resented her remark about Lotz's parents as "barbarians." They were uneducated but Mr. Lotz the father spent a great deal of time with his son, and probably realized he was a superior child.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good info, but biased
I purchased this book as a reference for an Abnormal Psychology class where I wrote a paper on Sylvia Plath.The information and the facts are real, but the book isn't completely objective.Quite a few times I caught myself thinking that the author had some kind of 'hero worship' about Plath. He would explain some of her odd behaviors and rampages as excusable because she was gifted and intellectual.In one chapter he says that the girls Sylvia hung out with basically had no brains and couldn't think for themselves, and did whatever she wanted them to do. However, it served it's purpose for my paper. ... Read more

12. Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath
by Anne Stevenson
Paperback: 413 Pages (1998-06-16)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$121.60
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Asin: 0395937604
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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"By far the most intelligent and the only authentically satisfying of the five biographies of Plath."--Janet Malcolm, The New Yorker

In this authoritative and controversial biography, Stevenson charts the ways in which Sylvia Plath created her own legend--one at odds with the posthumous myth that has grown up around her.It is "the most genuinely feminist account of Plath's life yet: one in which Plath herself is held to be responsible for her own life, her own death" (Washington Post Book World).

(A Mariner Reissue) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars It Takes A Masterful Poet To Understand A Great One
Of all the bios I have read regarding Sylvia Plath, Stevenson's - Bitter Fame - still stands as the best. For me, the linchpin is the fact that the masterful poet Stevenson carries within herself the depth necessary to reach for the stars in comprehending one of our greatest poets. To distill life to its essence as the hallmark of poetry itself - is no easy task - neither is that endeavor made more accessible when the subject, such as Sylvia Plath in this masterpiece-of-a-book, presents perhaps the most complicated, but profound soul, we might count upon as a gift to treasure ever and anon.

4-0 out of 5 stars good bio on sylvia plath
This is one of the better biographies of Sylvia Plath (as is the Wagner-Martin biography, though Stevenson is much more thorough). Supposedly Stevenson comes down on the side of Ted Hughes, but to me the biography seems objective and fair. Even in those biographies written to make Plath look like a victim, she still comes across as tempermental and difficult to live around. I think Stevenson's biography is fair, if at times a bit ponderous to read. I'd suggest Silent Woman as a companion piece (it's a biography of Stevenson's biography). Bitter Fame has three appendices--memoirs of Sylvia written by others--Lucas Myers, Dido Merwin, and Richard Murphy. You get a sense of dread as you approach Dido's little memoir. I'm sure Plath was difficult and I'm sure Dido has her reasons, but you get the impression that she wrote her memoir just to 'get back at' Plath. To show her up so to speak, even though its tone isn't much different then what else you'll find in the book. Anyway, regardless of what type of person Sylvia Plath was, difficult or not, you cannot deny her genius, which is far greater than those who she came in contact with or have written about her.

3-0 out of 5 stars Just a Little Too Bitter for My Tastes
Anne Stevenson begins this book with a real dislike for Plath and her bi-polar or as she puts it "psychotic" fits.What she fails to see, (or maybe she just does not want to admit), that Ted Hughes is just as guilty of feeding Sylvia's jealousy, her unstable behavior.He never "puts his foot down" to Plath's behavior or insists that Sylvia seek help with her depression, etc.Instead he leaves Plath after starting an affair with a friend of both of theirs without any concern for leaving his children with a woman he knows is unstable.Plath is a brilliant poet, but she suffers from bouts of depression, aggression (she destroys the book Hughes is working on in a fit of jealousy), and is prone to paranoia.

The job of the biographer is to lay out the facts and let the reader see into the life of the subject of the book.Stevenson takes sides, mostly with Hughes' sister. The book comes off interesting (as Plath is an interesting subject), but tainted.Overall, it left a very bad taste on my palate for this author's work.

3-0 out of 5 stars If you're interested in Plath...
The amount of secondary material on Sylvia Plath is enough to make anyone feel a bit queasy about her myth, and makes you question the motives of anyone who's adding to this morbid little industry. What is their agenda?
Undeniably, Plath fascinates, and not only because of the glassy, chill violence of her last poems. Ann Stevenson's biography does justice to both Plath as poet and as myth, though she tries to avoid salaciousness and does not ask questions that perhaps need answering. The thing is, Plath just becomes more and more mysterious the more you learn about her, and her death more bewildering and shocking. Does Stevenson subscribe to the chemically unstable theory? Or was Plath just an unstable personality? Stevenson never really delves into this murky but crucial territory.
The most interesting and poignant part of this biography is actually about Sylvia's early womanhood, in which Stevenson seems to have a particular feeling for her subject (perhaps because Sylvia's journals are available to her through these years). Stevenson seems to become more hesitant, more uncertain as she approaches adult Sylvia and her fabled Ariel poems, the Hughes marriage and suicide, preferring not to speculate too much on Plath's psychology and focus instead on Plath's poems, which is theoretically fine, but makes for less interesting biography because Stevenson does not write about the Ariel poems with particular insight. (She's competent enough and suitably admiring, but does not probe as deeply as is perhaps necessary.)

Still, this is a readable, if finally dissatisfying, biography. That said, it would be hard to write an entirely dull biography of Plath. I haven't read any of the other biographies available, but I can vouch that at least this one is balanced and scrupulous, if a bit over-cautious. My only other gripe would be
pictures, which are very shadowy and rarely show Sylvia herself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Was Johnny Panic indeed Sylvia Plath?
Still in the process of reading this book, I am enthralled and deeply intrigued to no end as I turn each page.For someone who has limited knowledge about Sylvia Plath, and having heard of her and the book "The Bell Jar", I find this autobiography VERY engaging and comprehensive without being overly inundated and complicated to read.I like the author's style of writing, she seems to be very learned on the subject of Sylvia Plath and looks as though she did extensive research on the subject which is much to be admired.She includes many passages from Sylvia's poems and does a remarkable job analizing some of the deeper meanings of her prose and poetry for the reader.In my oppinion this is a fantastic first autobiography to read about Syliva Plath.It inspires me to read on and further investigate Sylvia Plath and her life.I feel as though I am learning so much about a person who I have been fascinated with for quite some time. I treasure the time I am spending reading this autobiography. I think the author is in no way biased and one-sided revealing the soul of Sylvia Plath.I believe she has a good understanding of who Sylvia was, possessing a deep connection with her.I think the problem some of the other reviewers are having with this book is.........the truth hurts. ... Read more

13. Plath: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets)
by Sylvia Plath
Hardcover: 256 Pages (1998-10-13)
list price: US$13.50 -- used & new: US$5.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375404643
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A representative selection of verse by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who left in the wake of her personal tragedy a legacy of poems that combine terrifying intensity and dazzling artistry. With their brutally frank self-exposure and emotional immediacy, Plath's poems, from "Lady Lazarus" to "Daddy," have had an enduring influence on contemporary poetry. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars This little book cannot be commended too highly
A really excellent selection by Diane Wood Middlebrook, includes almost all the important last poems ('Letter in November' is missing), and a good selection of the 1950s stuff. There is even some juvenilia and some of TedHughes' notes. ... Read more

14. Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: Short Stories, Prose, and Diary Excerpts (P.S.)
by Sylvia Plath
Paperback: 352 Pages (2008-09-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$5.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061549479
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Renowned for her poetry, Sylvia Plath was also a brilliant writer of prose. This collection of short stories, essays, and diary excerpts highlights her fierce concentration on craft, the vitality of her intelligence, and the yearnings of her imagination. Featuring an introduction by Plath's husband, the late British poet Ted Hughes, these writings also reflect themes and images she would fully realize in her poetry. Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams truly showcases the talent and genius of Sylvia Plath.

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Customer Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars Some awesome stories, some duds
Some of the stories are awesome, some are tedious to finish. It feels unfair to judge Sylvia on most of these stories, since she didn't publish a lot of them while alive, but it's quite apparent why she never wrote more prose: roughly half of the stories are about the same character, herself, vaguely disguised using a variety of fake names. Still, there are some gems here, the title story is brilliant if a bit unsatisfying at the end. In fact that is a common theme here...after finishing many of these stories, I was not sure what to think, and wasn't entirely sure what even happened (Sunday at the Mintons' stands out in this way too).

High points:
Snow Blitz, a chilling (in retrospect) essay about the winter during which Plath killed herself. Without that knowledge, it would be kind of charming, and her great imagery really shines through. "Thankfully, I cooked by gas." *shudder*

Stone Boy with Dolphin. Not sure if this is autobiographical or not, but it struck a cord with me as an honest exposition of the sometimes-futility of the party-heavy college experience (even though I'm of the opposite gender as her).

The Wishing Box, about a wife jealous of her new husband's vivid dreams.I almost cried at the end...

Overall, a solid read if you are a fan of her work, but easy to skip if you are not, hence I give it 3/5 stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Portrait of an Evolving Writer
After reading "The Bell Jar", I was very disappointed that there were no more books to read by Sylvia Plath. That's why I was very happy to find this book of her other prose writings. The journal entries are fascinating and help the reader to understand the author to a more personal degree. Many of the stories resemble "The Bell Jar" in theme, like "Tongues of Stone", which tells of a young woman in a hospital. It is obvious that many of the stories were written when Sylvia Plath was very young, like "Initiation" (she won a prize for this from Seventeen magazine when she was 19). But many are very deep and complex, like "Johnny Panic" (dealing with a girl who works at a psychiatrist's office and is on the cusp of insanity herself) and "The Wishing Box" (about a young wife who is suicidal when she fears she has lost her imagination). I'd suggest this book for any Sylvia Plath fan or any fan of the short story.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not her best but I love her anyway!
Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Sylvia Plath is a sloppy, inconsistent, and drab collection of her short stories, prose and diary experts. First of all, I think Plath was one of the most gifted poets that ever lived, I love her only novel, The Bell Jar and I thought I would love this book as well but it falls short and never truly shows Plath's genius in any form. Seems like this particular book was published just because Ariel sold extremely well. Some of the material is interesting but Plath's writing becomes awkward and tends to go off topic a lot. The only reason I am giving this book 4 stars is because I believe a lot of the stories were not completed and if she were still alive, she would have re-written most of her work before it ever saw the light of day.If you want to read some beatiful and haunting work from Plath, then I suggest The Bell Jar, and all her poetry. Have fun!

5-0 out of 5 stars Autobiographical Stories
I enjoyed this book very much as a fan of Sylvia Plath but wonder whether a regular reader (not a fan) would enjoy it as much.
It has been suggested that the stories are autobiographical which I agree with and it was fascinating because as I read I could hear Plath voicing her opinions through the characters and she really spat her attitude all over the book.
The book is divided into three parts:
The more successful short stories and prose pieces
Other stories
Excerpts from notebooks.
If anyone wants to pick up this book and read a fascinating story (fan or not) then I suggest:
The Wishing Box, which explores the birth of marriage and the death to creativity
Mothers, which explores alienation and a greatly desperate attempt to fit in
And Ocean 1212-W, which is purely autobiographical and explores the loss of childhood innocence.
My favourite story was Snow Blitz.I think this is autobiographical too as it deals with a single Mother (American) living in a small flat in London with two children trying to deal with a bitter cold English winter.
I found this story rather amusing because I'm from the South East of England and snow is rather exciting and magical to us but when it starts to melt and freeze over we, in typical Brit style, start to complain.
If you only read this book for one thing then read the Introduction written by Ted Hughes.He supplies the reader with a great deal of information about the writing of these short stories as well as a lot of information about Plath herself; I certainly learnt a thing or two.

1-0 out of 5 stars Published for the sake of publication
I imagine that it's fairly hard to make a diary interesting and most of the diary excerpts found in this book seem to be published just for the sake of publication rather than for the actually content.I've read other diary entries by Plath outside of this book that were very interesting, so keep looking if you want to know about Plath (Wagner-Martin wrote a wonderful biography, however).The stories weren't interesting.I couldn't get into any of them. ... Read more

15. The Journals of Sylvia Plath
by Sylvia Plath
Paperback: 384 Pages (1998-05-11)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$5.29
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Asin: 0385493916
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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No other major contemporary American writer has inspired such intense curiosity about her life as Sylvia Plath. Now the intimate and eloquent personal diaries of the twentieth century's most important female poet reveal for the first time the true story behind "The Bell Jar" and her tragic suicide at thirty. They paint, as well, a revealing portrait of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose stature has seldom been equalled.
"A revelation." The New York Times
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Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Writing
I wasn't aware, while reading these brilliant journals, that the book is "abridged," but what's here is staggeringly clever, honest and just plain great writing.Even when Plath is writing at her most depressed, it is not a depressing experience to read her journals because they're so wonderfully written.Really good stuff.I enjoyed her journals more than her poetry, to be honest.

3-0 out of 5 stars "White as a knuckle and terribly upset..."
Since her death by suicide in 1963 at age thirty, Sylvia Plath has become an iconic figure of the young tormented soul trapped by the irrationality of the modern world.

These abridged journals (for too long the only ones available) are an indispensable adjunct to the poetry and other writings of Sylvia Plath, giving the reader a window into the mind and creative processes of this brilliant, unbalanced, creative and self-destructive woman.

Between these covers Plath strikes the reader as remote and too measured---as if she was writing even her journals for an audience. This sensation is also heightened by the far too pernicious editing, supervised by her ex-husband, poet Ted Hughes, who effectively censored Plath posthumously, even admitting (in the Foreword) that he destroyed one of the final volumes of her journal, ostensibly to protect their children.

With the release of the unedited version, this abridgement becomes a supernumerary volume, except for the reader who wants to gain a quick glimpse of Plath engaged in the work of her existence. The serious reader is best advised to take up the unexpurgated edition.

4-0 out of 5 stars under the water with sylvia plath
The Journals of Sylvia Plath are an undisputible link to the base of her poetry.For a journal of a life, the entries are incredibly written and interesting.I have been very interested in her death by suicide which was the reason why I picked up these journals in the first place, but I found myself underlining sentences of her different viewpoints on life, ironically.If you you want to figure out about how Plath wrote her poetry and what events formed the woman who is such a mystery today, read this book. The only place where I thought that the diaries lacked was that all the information was not included. Some of her most passionate outrages and angry words have been taken out which I think are definitely a key to her poems that we do not possess. I am aware that the people in the journals must be protected but hope that the full works will be published in the future.The first half of the journals while Sylvia was in college have spoken to me and given me words and reasonings for my feelings that I had not been able to form myself before.I think any college student would benefit from reading her viewpoints and beautiful words. Anyone who is interested in the author will be impressed.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Essential Book
If you love Sylvia Plath's amazing poetry; if you have an affinity for either reading journals, or writing your own; or if you simply have an interest in the lifestyles and choices of women of some 50 years ago, thesecollected journals are a must.

5-0 out of 5 stars Real
Another reviewer wrote that this book was a big disappointment - that it stinks. How can one criticize someone's journals? I'm pretty sure Plath didn't expect these to be published one day - and so she didn't write themfor the general public to read. These words are honest, riviting,disturbing, wonderful, priceless. ... Read more

16. The Art of Sylvia Plath: a Symposium
 Paperback: 320 Pages (1971-01-01)

Isbn: 0253201489
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17. The Cambridge Introduction to Sylvia Plath (Cambridge Introductions to Literature)
by Jo Gill
Paperback: 168 Pages (2008-10-27)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$3.85
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Asin: 0521686954
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Sylvia Plath is widely recognized as one of the leading figures in twentieth-century Anglo-American literature and culture. Her work has constantly remained in print in the UK and US (and in numerous translated editions) since the appearance of her first collection in 1960. Plath's own writing has been supplemented over the decades by a wealth of critical and biographical material. The Cambridge Introduction to Sylvia Plath provides an authoritative and comprehensive guide to the poetry, prose and autobiographical writings of Sylvia Plath. It offers a critical overview of key readings, debates and issues from almost fifty years of Plath scholarship, draws attention to the historical, literary, national and gender contexts which frame her writing and presents informed and attentive readings of her own work. This accessibly written book will be of great use to students beginning their explorations of this important writer. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Read this book!
Since 2000, there have been a number of introductory books on Sylvia Plath. These come in two categories: biographies and critical overviews. The audience in each instance has been junior high (early teens) through high school and possibly early college. I've read each - including my own contribution to this genre - but most are written by a group of people whom I might term "serial" writers. Seemingly non-experts hired to write on Plath, or some other subject or person.

The Cambridge Introduction to Sylvia Plath (Cambridge University Press, 2008) by Jo Gill, Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature at the University of Exeter, is one of the most recent of these. In it, Gill discusses Plath's life and works in succinct chapters that are so packed with value it makes even the thickest Plath criticism redundant. You may know Gill's name in association with Plath's from the 2006 Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath, a wonderful volume which she edited and contributed an essay. The set-up of her Cambridge Introduction is similar, but this time the content all her own.

Gill's preface is clear: "to offer new readers an accessible, authoritative and comprehensive guide to Plath's writing...and to provide an incisive and insightful overview of key tendencies and developments in Plath criticism." (ix) This agenda is met immediately and consistently throughout the text. In each chapter, Gill breaks out major themes that she sees going on in the discussed text. These themes all present readers with questions, answers, and ideas for further study and inquiry. The books conciseness is valuable for new readers to Plath in that it sheds right off many of the layers to Plath scholarship. Although Plath has been dissected and examined, Gill encourages that us to re-examined previously held notions.

The first two chapters, as well as the last one, look at Plath's life and the contexts in which she has been read, interpreted, adopted, and discussed for more than four decades. Scholars are re-evaluating Sylvia Plath and reading her in new ways. Psychoanalysis, feminist, confessional and other readings of Sylvia Plath are a thing of the past. It is quite possible that some of those early ways of reading Plath did more harm than good. Currently, Plath is being read with an intense, dedicated focus to sociological and historical approaches. By connecting Plath's life and writing to events and other happenings at the time in which she lived, a new perspective on her accomplishments is possible. This offers, possibly, the most authentic approach to Sylvia Plath and allows for the continued re-appraisal of her works.

In Chapters 3 and 4, Gill turns her attention to the poetry. Generally her interpretations and connections of the writing and between the writing styles is accurate and authentically her own. While presenting her own analysis, she highlights the best of what's been said before her, as well as respectfully and successfully disagreeing with previous scholarship as well. Gill discusses out the controversy over Plath's Collected Poems, and the questionable chronology assigned the poems. While admitting some advantage to reading the poems chronologically, it "does not fully accomodate teh complexity of the work." (30). Her aim, therefore, is "to look at poems in detail in relation both to the collections in which they were first published, and the wider picture of Plath's ouevre." (30) This she does brilliantly. What I find particularly welcome is the amount of attention given to Plath's early poetry and juvenilia (Chapter 3). This is not surprising, given that Gill wrote on The Colossus and Crossing the Water in the Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath, the book she edited in 2006. The chapter looking at Ariel and the later poems is another fresh look at works well-criticized. In Ariel she highlights Plath's use of echoes, both the word and the sound, as well as her use of repeating words. Throughout the book, Gill refers to Plath's use of doubling or the double and thus shows a wonderful cohesiveness in all of Plath's writing.

Critical attention has shifted away from Plath's fiction for a while, the focus being on her poetry - as though Plath's identity as a poet and association with poetry makes her, in some obscene academic way, a more serious writer. The fictional writing is perhaps closer to Plath biographically, and this might be the reason for its shunning. A number of scholars are beginning to re-examine Plath's fiction, however, and Chapter 5, which looks The Bell Jar and Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, is a wonderful beginning. Gill brings some of the themes discussed in the poetry into full spotlight in the discussion of the fiction, and shows that there is continuity and connectivity between the two genres in Plath's creative works. In the discussion of The Bell Jar, we are given a separate section on Plath's narrative voice, the double, and subjectivity. The worth of the stories assembled in Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams is given some major, much needed attention. These highly under-valued works will shortly be given more attention in Luke Ferretter's forthcoming critical study of Plath's fiction.

Gill examines Letters Home and The Journals thoughtfully. Both of these works are somewhat contentious: they were not specifically written for publication. I think Gill's history and reading of Letters Home will go far in reassessing their worth (while at the same time highlighting a need for a larger, more complete edition of Plath's letters). The Journals have received more critical attention, especially since the publication of the Unabridged Journals, edited by Karen V. Kukil, in 2000. Gill's looks at the Letters and the Journals in a wonderful way, "If Letters Home represents an attempt to persuade the mother of the stability of Plath's position and of the validity of the decisions she has made, then the Journals arguably represent an attemp to persuade and reassure the self." (108) Gill links these two works in ways that future researchers will find useful.

The Notes and Further Reading that conclude the book are also useful; particularly the Further Reading as the works selected are followed by brief annotations. The summaries are an invaluable way to indicate to readers what certain articles or books are about in a way that the title of the thing might not necessarily convey.

As I read each chapter, I continually said to myself, "Yes, yes". People shied away from sitting next to me on the train and my wife wanted to call the doctor. There is no reason why young readers, new to Sylvia Plath and impressionable, shouldn't be given the absolute best. I feel that with The Cambridge Introduction to Sylvia Plath, readers finally have. Gill's reading of Sylvia Plath is wonderful, intelligent, and informative. Although written with a for those who are new to Sylvia Plath, this is a must read for even the most seasoned scholar. Beginning your own introduction to Sylvia Plath with Jo Gill's book, will leave the neophyte at an advantage. Although the back story to Plath scholarship is always interesting, starting your interest here is more than a little encouraging. It shows that Plath's reception is changing, and that this change is for the better. There is very little to complain about in The Cambridge Introduction to Sylvia Plath. In fact, my only criticism is that the book was not longer.

My advice: Read this book. ... Read more

18. Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath
by Stephanie Hemphill
Paperback: 144 Pages (2008-12-23)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$1.52
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440239680
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Your Own, Sylvia draws on Plath’s writing and extensive nonfiction sources, chronicling Hemphill’s interpretation of Plath’s life from infancy to her death by suicide at age 30. The poems are arranged chronologically and each conveys an experience in Plath’s life told via the voice and perspective of family members, friends, doctors, fellow writers, etc.—as interpreted by Hemphill. Each poem is accompanied by an addendum that further explains the factual circumstances of that poem’s subject. The book also includes an Author’s Note, some photos, a section describing the source material for each poem, and suggestions for further reading. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not sure if this is Printz worthy
I don't feel like this book is deserving of Prinz Honor. To write about a poet's life in a form of a series of poems from POV's of people around Sylvia is an interesting exercise, but the final product itself is not satisfying. Stephanie Hemphill is just not that great of a poet. Her best poems in this book are those that are direct imitations of Plath's own works. I caught myself wanting to read Sylvia's poetry rather than Hemphill's. Other poems are written in free verse with no rhythm or rhyme and pretty much are the usual fare for reluctant readers with short attention spans rather than actual inspired poetry.

However Your Own, Sylvia is useful as an introduction to Sylvia Plath's life and work. The first part of the book is more powerful. Reading it was like reading Madness: A Bipolar Life, with all the mood swings, promiscuity, manic highs and depressing lows. The second part of the story doesn't capture Sylvia's state of mind in similar way.

My favorite part of the book is when Sylvia's psychotherapist advises her to let loose, stop repressing her sexual urges and finally do the deed - as a means of therapy. Apparently, up to that point, Plath, in spite of dating multiple men simultaneously, never went all the way. I never knew that having sex could cure mental disorders.

Anyway, what I am getting at is that while reading the book I kept thinking that I'd rather read Sylvia Plath actual biographies and poetry an not this "portrait in verse."

5-0 out of 5 stars More Plath/Hughes exploitation
"Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath", is a book that should not have been written or published. The poetry itself is lame and lackluster, and doesn't do the subject any credit at all. Also, as a fan of Plath myself, I feel Plath, as well as her late husband, have been exploited in the literary far too much. How do you look into someone's marriage and make a verse story out of it? As the author of this waste of time must be an andmirer of Plath, so am I, and I think enough is enough of the Plath/Hughes melodrama. Let's just respect both poets great works.

5-0 out of 5 stars A testimony to the ongoing power of the poem.
While this verse interpretation of poet Sylvia Plath was intended for teen audiences, it's reviewed here because it'd be a shame to limit its meaning to teens alone. Stephanie Hemphill uses verse herself to interpret the events and influences that summed the life of tragic poet Sylvia Plath. Her approach is unique and her verse a testimony to the ongoing power of the poem.

4-0 out of 5 stars Our own Sylvia.
Forty-five years after her death, Sylvia-Plath-mystique is alive and well. This story of Plath's life, from childhood to tragedy, is told in verse, purportedly in Plath's own style. Hemphill, an outstanding poet in her own right, admirably gives more than suitable voice to those who knew Sivvy--her mother, brother, friends, editors, therapist, husband and Sylvia herself, defining Sylvia's hopes and aspirations, fears, vulnerabilities and dichotomies. Each poem is titled and the point of view and speaker are made clear. Factual end notes enhance the biographical aspect. "Your Own, Sylvia" reads like a novel, a good one. Readers are rewarded with an intimate look at this remarkable young woman and brilliant poet, and may deduce that she was a modern female, ahead of her time. The nature of this book is that Sylvia's suicide becomes less frightening, less intimidating, less sensational, allowing readers to embrace Sylvia and accept her as their own.

1-0 out of 5 stars Really bad ideas 101
It is a very, VERY bad idea for a poor poet to attempt to sketch the life of one of history's greatest poets. The poems are laughably awful. If you want to learn about Sylvia Plath, her life and work, buy her collected works and one of the many biographies written about her. I wouldn't waste your time with this book. ... Read more

19. Sylvia Plath Poems: Selected by Ted Hughes (Poet to Poet: An Essential Choice of Classic Verse)
by Sylvia Plath
Paperback: 80 Pages (2000-04-03)

Isbn: 0571203582
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20. The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath
by Ronald Hayman
Paperback: 224 Pages (2003-07-24)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$16.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0750934220
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Not a conventional biograpy, this book offers an explanation of Sylvia Plath's death in 1963. The author looks back on Plath's life in an attempt to offer an objective account of why she killed herself. It discusses her life with her husband Ted Hughes, who had control of all her copyright works, as she killed herself without making a will. This edition brings the story full circle, as it includes the publication of "Birthday Letters", the death of Ted Hughes and Elaine Feinstein's biography of him, along with Erica Wagner's book "Ariel's Gift", the Al Alvarez autobiography which includes new material and Lucas Meyers's new book "Crow Steered Bergs Appeared".
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Customer Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars Hated It
You are far better off reading Method and Madness, for a more intelligent and caring story about SP. Method and Madness is the definitive, though somewhat dated bio on Plath. Also enjoyed Lover of Unreason.

5-0 out of 5 stars a strong & brittle vision unencumbered by cumbersome family.
the first time i read this book, my partner (of 14 inimitable years) had walked out on me, leaving me not only bereft, but w/ no forwarding address (in, of course, imitation of neal casady, in all that glory & stupidity), i was standing in a largely empty apartment in san francisco, ca, being stalked by not only someone harmless i had met at a service non-profit who stood, after i had had an operation, at my door, in the rain, as he cried & held a box of matzoh (my friend had to say, truthfully, i was in no shape to see him), but also much less harmfully, by my building manager, who not only stole my mail, but cut my telephone wires, moved my stuff around (i had to put a new & different lock on the door) & pointed a gun out the window at my friend chris.

the same friend who sent away the crying man o' matzoh, later sent me this book. she thought i would like it. i did.

it makes you HATE ted hughes. i am uncertain whether one would have had to have had a similar experience to that of sylvia plath to feel this way (i was hospitalized for "suicidal ideation," actually against my will, overnight during all this mess), so take that into account. however, i am not someone whose dreams would be so --academic-- for lack of a better word. i did not go to smith. my mother forced me into college & away from musicians. i did go to grad school, but, my heavenly stars, my heart would have not been broken had a major grad school turned down my summer school ap. i have no kids. but TED. i do have that.

so this book will make the blood of anyone who has ever been owned by a ted completely curdle. though it's more than that. i suppose it is that one can feel thru ronald hayman's very careful handling of his subject, how small things slowly merge themselves into becoming --all-- things. & then one looks at one's life, & then one looks at one's --ted-- &. so help me, at the last it all adds up into something insurmountable, something one simply does not want, something one is unable to --do-- any more. if i remember correctly, ronald hayman is the only biographer of sylvia plath able to convey the sense --& it is necessary to do this in a biography of sylvia plath-- of a grinding down to complete futility.

my only regret & continual lack of understanding is that she left her kids. i bless her for opening those windows. this was not a bad person. & the sorrow does, does, does, does, does multiply.

4-0 out of 5 stars Analysis
Ronald Hayman provides excellent insight into Sylvia Plath's life, effectively using much analysis of her poetry to tell her biography.

5-0 out of 5 stars Suicide as Life
The main problem of writing a biography of Sylvia Plath is the roadblocks that are constantly being thrown out by her husband's controlling estates. Unlike other biographers, Hayman has managed to be honest and critical about who Plath is, and how she was treated by people around her, including her husband and his mistress. Hayman addresses critically and honestly Plath's husband controlling nature. He controlled her life when she was alive, but worse still he controlled her totally after she died. There are many crucial works and correspondences of Plath that were destroyed, or mysteriously disappeared (presumable by her husband). Hayman argues that these materials are extremely valuable to understand more Plath's life as suicide. ... Read more

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