Title: Collected Poems
Author: Sylvia Plath
Page Count/Review Word Count:352
Sylvia Plath was one hell of a writer, and, similarly to how I feel about Charles Bukowski, I always preferred her poetry to her prose. I’ll freely admit that both are very good, but I think that her natural way with words just lends itself to poetry, because she can make words sing to you from a page.
This particular book “contains all Sylvia Plath’s mature poetry written from 1956 up to her death in 1963.” Let’s not talk about her death, because it’s sad to talk about and raises all sorts of other questions, and focus on her life and her work instead, because let me tell you, there’s a lot here for you to enjoy.
In fact, there’s so much poetry here that it’s hard for me to identify particular poems which stood out, because they all did in their way. I’d say that there’s perhaps a couple of hundred poems included in here, and so it’s not like you’re spoiled for choice. The fact that they’re divided by year does, however, serve an important purpose – it gives you a feeling of accomplishment as you make your way through the pages, which you might otherwise be missing if it was just poem after poem after poem, with no section breaks.
Ultimately, this collection of poetry is the kind of thing that you’d probably enjoy if you’re a fan of the classics but if you never got into poetry – Plath isn’t necessarily a traditional poet, but she’s not avante garde either, and so her work is pretty accessible even to the modern reader who’s picking up the collection over fifty years after her death.
My only problem with this book is the fact that, because it contains all of the work written up to her death, there’s never going to be another one for me to read. Still, it’s the kind of book that you can read again and again, so do yourself a favour and add it to your collection.