Ariel by Sylvia Plath


Sylvia Plath's famous collection, as she intended it.When Sylvia Plath died, she not only left behind a prolific life but also her unpublished literary masterpiece, Ariel. When her husband, Ted Hughes, first brought this collection to life, it garnered worldwide acclaim, though it wasn't the draft Sylvia had wanted her readers to see. This facsimile edition restores, for the first time, Plath's original manuscript—including handwritten notes—...

Details Ariel

Release DateMar 6th, 2018
PublisherHarper Perennial Modern Classics
GenrePoetry, Classics, Fiction

Reviews Ariel

  • Steve
    Since about 1980 I have probably read Ariel six times, and once again I step back from it thinking, My God! It remains for me the most powerful collection of poetry that I’ve ever read. However, I should probably scratch that word “remains,” since my previous readings had me in awe of numerous poems within the collection. But with this new edition, I am reading for the first time, Plath’s arrangement, which jacks things up considerably (H...
  • Trevor
    I have always meant to read a book about the life of Sylvia Plath and to learn about the whole Ted Hughes adventure – but something there is that doesn’t love that kind of voyeurism and to date I have avoided it. There is a sense, however, where I think Plath’s poetry is so intensely personal that it would make sense to read it knowing more of the story of the American poet who killed herself on the bleak winter’s day in the year in which...
  • Roya
    Final rating: 3.5 starsLast May I went on a cruise to Alaska with my parents, brother, and grandfather. The book I was reading at the time was crap. Fortunately for me, there was this freaking cool library on the ship.I'm going to go off on bit of a tangent here, but I think it's kinda lame how a cruise ship has a library and the island I live on hasn't had one since I was eight....Anyway, moving away from my general bitterness, let's go back the...
  • Florencia
    (view spoiler)[First reviewEvery time I don't love some book that other people love, I feel bad. Or stupid because I didn't understand it. Or a heartless gal because apparently I don't have a soul and that must be the reason why I'm not jumping up and down after reading it. I've always been interested in Plath's life, such an intense and tragic life. I read a bit about it and it seems like it's all there in her poetry. Her intimate, unsettling, h...
  • Eryn☘
    I thought her book, The Bell Jar, was much better than any of these poems. I almost wish she had been more of a novelist than a poet. Oh well. Either way, maybe two of these poems stuck out to me in a good way but then the rest were very strange and random. Honestly, I didn't connect to her poems the way I did with her novel, so that was a bummer.Overall, they're definitely poems to check out if you have time. But don't be expecting Emily Dickins...
  • Auguste
    Maybe when I first read Ariel, the originally published, Ted Hughes edition of the poems, I was too young to appreciate Plath's stunning vision; however, I'm inclined to think that her own layout of her swansong collection was the decisive factor in my recent reading of the work, which blew me away. So much substance - the words 'dark matter' come to mind - from a poet so young, it's rare, it's humbling. Being Greek, I can only think of Karyotaki...
  • Jenna
    There are two adjectives commonly applied to this book by people who haven't read it: it is often said to be a "feminist" book, and a "depressing" one. I think these two not-quite-accurate labels arise so frequently because Sylvia Plath is, unfortunately, better-known to the general public for being female and psychologically troubled than for being an accomplished poet.This is not an agenda-driven book, it is not a book aimed at only a select au...
  • Lindsay
    2017 reread:I studied this book in my junior year in high school for a Dual Enrollment English class. That was in 2014. I've been reading it again over this year in bits and pieces without actually adding it here. So here we go. I loved studying Sylvia Plath and I have a great appreciation for her work.
  • Holly
    I gave it my all, but Plath's masterpiece just isn't for me. And, like Plath's poetry, it's a personal problem. The poems in Ariel are too obscure, too heady, too veiled—no one could ever accuse Plath of being too conscious of her audience. A woman always thinks she'll see her own pain in the words of another. The idea of Sylvia Plath is a perversely nice one to mull over, to play "I-saw-it-coming," to diminish her entire life to those few hour...
  • Jennifer
    The poems in this collection are seething and uncompromising. Plath's use of color fascinates me, and reading these sparkling, corrosive poems aloud makes your tongue and ear dance. But being completely honest, I found a lot of them impenetrable without research. I just had absolutely no idea what was going on, and so couldn't remember most of them after I'd turned the page (with some notable exceptions like "Lady Lazarus"). I'm left with a lot o...
  • Claudia
    I don't begin to pretend I understood all of these poems, or all of any one of them. But I love them...the sounds, the images. The fierceness often takes my breath away. Her images of the ordinary life of a mother contrasts with the violence, the hooks, the hisses, the shrieks, the worms. More than this, tho, THIS edition has restored Plath's original plan for her collection. Her suicide meant Ted Hughes controlled the editorial decisions for pub...
  • Jeremy Ra
    If all poetry strives to defy expectations, Plath certainly is the nemesis of clichés. The readers of her work incessantly find themselves in breathless astonishment because of the explosive language, the surprising imageries, and the immense honesty with which she unveils her personal events and emotions (though I cannot stress enough the importance of not letting what you might have already heard about her life constrain your interpretation of...
  • Wes Zickau
    I've been having trouble organizing my thoughts and reactions to Plath, so here's a list in no particular order of some things that I wondered while reading Ariel. To all you Plathers: please understand that I respect Plath as a poet, that my rating reflects my limited perception of her work, and that I'm well aware of the subjectivity of taste. However...1. What exactly is so great about Sylvia Plath? I don't mean that sarcastically, I mean what...
  • Fenia
    Love it ♥ Sylvia's poetry just speaks to me :)
  • Jamie
    I can hardly contain in words my adoration of this book. Plath brought me to poetry--both the reading and the writing of it, so I will always carry that debt to her. I have to say up front that I'm rather weary of hearing how 'dark' and 'melodramatic' this collection is--there's a pathologization of Plath and her readers that seems almost presupposed in any discussion of her work. It's an easy way to make dismissals--but I think far fewer people ...
  • Tortla
    Plath did some nice stuff with words. But she was a bit of a drama queen. It was pretty nifty to see her original manuscript and get her daughter's perspective on both it and her drama-queen-ness (and a defense of the husband who re-arranged the original manuscript).So: overall interesting insight into Plath and Plath family drama. And many of the poems are clever and interesting and carefully-constructed to sound and look a particular Plath-y wa...
  • Julia Gordon-Bramer
    I laughed at Goodreads' comment, "Date I finished this book," as I am never finished with it. Ariel and Ariel: The Restored Edition mean so much to me that I have devoted the last eight years to studying it, as I discovered its correlation to tarot and the Qabalah. It became Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath (2015, Stephen F. Austin State U Press). You can read the introduction and first chapter here:
  • Janet
    Ariel... what we lost when we lost Sylvia Plath. That ferocity. She wrote these poems in a frenzy of creativity, a firestorm of the need to be understood, the need to explicate personal truth, here about the horror of existence--which can be a stronger urge than the urge to live. Ariel is not only the spirit in The Tempest, but a horse who ran away with her. What is that plunging power that is beyond her control? Beautiful, chilling, unarguable.
  • Steph
    I'm not a big fan of reading poetry but I find Sylvia Plath endlessly fascinating so I picked this up. I was surprised to find that I found reading it incredibly enjoyable. I intend to purchase it for my own collection because these are poems that make you want to read them again and again. It has even inspired me to branch out into reading work from other poets as well.
  • M. Sarki
    2011-09-25 this "Restored Edition" of Sylvia Plath's most famous work there is a foreword by her daughter Frieda Hughes that kindly takes the view that her father was not at all that bad, but that her mother's poems in their original order and verse were somewhat better. Having not read the original Ariel, I am not one to compare, but it makes complete sense to me, and something that should have been done long ago....
  • Natália B
  • Elaine Mullane
    Tuesday was World Poetry Day and in its honour I took out one of my favourite collections of poetry: Ariel by Sylvia Plath. "Dying is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well". The poems in this collection are largely dominated by the themes of sadness, suicide and death, which doesn't make for happy reading by any means, but I am always blown away by the sheer power and haunting nature of Plath's words. With poetry being one of t...
  • Mick
    What more can be said of the boundless, endless, spacious kind of universe that Sylvia leaves us breadcrumbs to? Her soaring, biting language, immersed with redness of either tulips, a sunrise, or flames, or hair.Ariel represents power that emerges through mythology, history, implicitly through a woman that wrote every morning during the later cold months of 1962, and through any female today that is looking for a deeper look into her own conscio...
  • Patrick
    "You say I should drown my girl.She'll cut her throat at ten if she's mad at two." --Lesbos"I do not want much of a present, anyway, this year.After all, I am alive only by accident." --A Birthday Present"I could not run without having to run forever." --The Bee MeetingHaving only read The Bell Jar years ago, this was my first experience with Plath's poetry, and I loved it. A lot of it I found very cryptic, but all these great lines would cut thr...
  • Stephanie Marie
    Unforgettably beautiful. Each poem is rich with imagery, emotion, passion, movement, texture-- Sylvia Plath has smeared her depression, jealousy, rage, desire into this frenzy of words. It is amazing to me that mere words, letters slapped together, can make someone feel this way (the someone writing it and the someone reading it). I can admit that I knew very little about Plath before I approached this collection, but Ariel has made me hungry for...
  • Ashley
    Plath, unfairly, carries an association with weepy undergraduates romanticizing her suicide. And it's true, that the way Plath died often overshadows her poetry. These poems, the last ones, especially reflect a growing madness. But these aren't the ravings of a melodramatic basket-case. The poetry is strong and terrifying - no feminine floweriness, but bald, strange thoughts. Take "I rise with my red hair ... and I eat men like air" in "Lady Laza...
  • alyssa carver
    you know what i hate about every depiction of sylvia plath--not just gwyneth paltrow's saddy-face performance--but every time anyone portrays her in any medium ever? she's always so fucking doomed. and i just don't buy it at all. this book is desperate and raw and bloody and tinged by death, but it is also ravenously and absolutely alive. i read it as a declaration, as evidence of a terrible struggle to survive. not a suicide note. "beware, bewar...
  • katie
    I never read the original version, so I'm not sure what the differences are from the Ted Hughes published version, but the "restoration" and intro by their daughter was definitely what drew me to this collection in particular. Lovely poems, many of them sad - both on their own and in the light of the sadness of her life- yet some surprisingly bits of ecstasy of the beauty of individual moment. The whole collection flows and hangs together really ...
  • Wynn
    For me this collection is stunningly wonderful, brilliant & beautifully sad. I appreciate the forward from Frieda Hughes. She writes about her mother and her poetry:“She used every emotional experience as if it were a scrap of material that could be pieced together to make a wonderful dress; she wasted nothing of what she felt, and when in control of those tumultuous feelings she was able to focus and direct her incredible poetic energy to grea...
  • Ellie
    I'm fascinated with Sylvia, with her work, her life and death. I may not understand every single poem she wrote, but they all leave me with the feeling of deeper meaning.She is brutally sincere and unafraid of showing her emotions. Her fierceness is breathtaking.For me, this restored collection is absolutely brilliant and in a way, beautifully sad.My favourites are ,,The Applicant'', ,,Elm'', ,,The Night Dances'' and of course, one and only ,,Lad...