Plath’s poetry is often associated with the Confessional movement, and compared to the work of poets such as Lowell and fellow student Anne Sexton. Often, her work is singled out for the intense coupling of its violent or disturbed imagery and its playful use of alliteration and rhyme.
At the age of eleven Sylvia Plath published her poems in regional magazines and newspapers. Her first national publication was in the Christian Science Monitor in 1950, just after graduating from high school. Below are records of her publications and further below are some selected poems to thrill you.
The Colossus (Knopf, 1962)
Ariel (Harper & Row, 1966)
Crossing the Water (Harper & Row, 1971)
Winter Trees (Harper & Row, 1972)
The Collected Poems (Harper & Row, 1981)
The Bell Jar (Harper & Row, 1971)
Letters Home (Harper & Row, 1975), edited by Aurelia Schober Plath
Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams (Harper & Row, 1979)
The Journals of Sylvia Plath (Dial Press, 1982)
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath (Anchor Books, 2000), edited by Karen V. Kuki
Books for Young Readers
The Bed Book (Harper & Row, 1976)
The It-Doesn’t-Matter-Suit (St. Martin’s Press, 1996)
They’re out of the dark’s ragbag, these two
Moles dead in the pebbled rut,
Shapeless as flung gloves, a few feet apart —-
Blue suede a dog or fox has chewed.
One, by himself, seemed pitiable enough,
Little victim unearthed by some large creature
From his orbit under the elm root.
The second carcass makes a duel of the affair:
Blind twins bitten by bad nature.
The sky’s far dome is sane a clear.
Leaves, undoing their yellow caves
Between the road and the lake water,
Bare no sinister spaces. Already
The moles look neutral as the stones.
Their corkscrew noses, their white hands
Uplifted, stiffen in a family pose.
Difficult to imagine how fury struck —-
Dissolved now, smoke of an old war.
Nightly the battle-snouts start up
In the ear of the veteran, and again
I enter the soft pelt of the mole.
Light’s death to them: they shrivel in it.
They move through their mute rooms while I sleep,
Palming the earth aside, grubbers
After the fat children of root and rock.
By day, only the topsoil heaves.
Down there one is alone.
Outsize hands prepare a path,
They go before: opening the veins,
Delving for the appendages
Of beetles, sweetbreads, shards — to be eaten
Over and over. And still the heaven
Of final surfeit is just as far
From the door as ever. What happens between us
Happens in darkness, vanishes
Easy and often as each breath.
GOLD MOUTHS CRY
certainty of the bronze boy
remembering a thousand autumns
and how a hundred thousand leaves
came sliding down his shoulder blades
persuaded by his bronze heroic reason.
We ignore the coming doom of gold
and we are glad in this bright metal season.
Even the dead laugh among the goldenrod.The bronze boy stands kneedeep in centuries,
and never grieves,
remembering a thousand autumns,
with sunlight of a thousand years upon his lips
and his eyes gone blind with leaves
He was the bullman earlierm
King of the dish, my lucky animal.
Breathing was easy in his airy holding.
The sun sat in his armpit.
Nothing went moldy. The little invisibles
Waited on him hand and foot.
The blue sisters sent me to another school.
Monkey lived under the dunce cap.
He kept blowing me kisses.
I hardly knew him.
He won’t be got rid of:
Memblepaws, teary and sorry,
Fido Littlesoul, the bowel’s unfamiliar.
A dustbin’s enough for him.
The dark’s his bone.
Call him any name, he’ll come to it.
Mud-sump, happy sty face.
I’ve married a cupboard of rubbish.
I bed in a fish puddle.
Down here the sky is always falling.
Hogwallow’s at the window.
The star bugs won’t save me this mouth.
I housekeep in Time’s gut-end
Among emmets and mollusks,
Duchess of Nothing,
No map traces the street
Where those two sleepers are.
We have lost track of it.
They lie as if under water
In a blue, unchanging light,
The French window ajar
Curtained with yellow lace.
Through the narrow crack
Odors of wet earth rise.
The snail leaves a silver track;
Dark thickets hedge the house.
We take a backward look.
Among petals pale as death
And leaves steadfast in shape
They sleep on, mouth to mouth.
A white mist is going up.
The small green nostrils breathe,
And they turn in their sleep.
Ousted from that warm bed
We are a dream they dream.
Their eyelids keep up the shade.
No harm can come to them.
We cast our skins and slide
Into another time.