Born in 1932 to middle class parents in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, Sylvia Plath published her first poem at the age of eight. A sensitive person who tended to be a bit of a perfectionist she was what many would consider a model daughter and student - popular, a straight A student, always winning the best prizes. She won a scholarship to Smith College in 1950 and even then she had an enviable list of publications. While at Smith she wrote over four hundred poems.
However, beneath the surface of her seeming perfection were some grave discontinuities, some which probably were caused by the death of her father, an entomologist, when she was eight. During the summer after her ... more »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
Sylvia Plath Poems
The prince leans to the girl in scarlet heels, Her green eyes slant, hair flaring in a fan Of silver as the rondo slows; now reels Begin on tilted violins to span
A Birthday Present
What is this, behind this veil, is it ugly, is it beautiful? It is shimmering, has it breasts, has it edges? I am sure it is unique, I am sure it is what I want.
I have done it again. One year in every ten I manage it----
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see I swallow immediately Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful ‚
Stasis in darkness. Then the substanceless blue Pour of tor and distances.
I'm a riddle in nine syllables, An elephant, a ponderous house, A melon strolling on two tendrils. O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
You do not do, you do not do Any more, black shoe In which I have lived like a foot For thirty years, poor and white,
Mad Girl's Love Song
"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my lids and all is born again. (I think I made you up inside my head.)
Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing. I want to fill it with color and ducks, The zoo of the new Whose name you meditate --
Since Christmas they have lived with us, Guileless and clear, Oval soul-animals, Taking up half the space,
Touch it: it won't shrink like an eyeball, This egg-shaped bailiwick, clear as a tear. Here's yesterday, last year --- Palm-spear and lily distinct as flora in the vast
the slime of all my yesterdays rots in the hollow of my skull and if my stomach would contract
Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries, Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly, A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea Somewhere at the end of it, heaving. Blackberries
Compelled by calamity's magnet They loiter and stare as if the house Burnt-out were theirs, or as if they thought Some scandal might any minute ooze
Quotationsmore quotations »
''Apparently, the most difficult feat for a Cambridge male is to accept a woman not merely as feeling, not merely as thinking, but as managing a complex, vital interweaving of both.''Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), U.S. poet. Isis (Oxford, May 6, 1956). Written while Plath was a student at Cambridge.
If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell. I'll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of...Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), U.S. poet. The narrator, in The Bell Jar, ch. 8 (1963).
Sundaythe doctor's paradise! Doctors at country clubs, doctors at the seaside, doctors with mistresses, doctors with wives, doctors in church, doctors in yachts, doctors everywhere resolutely be...Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), U.S. poet. The narrator, in The Bell Jar, ch. 19 (1963).
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
The prince leans to the girl in scarlet heels,
Her green eyes slant, hair flaring in a fan
Of silver as the rondo slows; now reels
Begin on tilted violins to span
The whole revolving tall glass palace hall
Where guests slide gliding into light like wine;
Rose candles flicker on the lilac wall
Reflecting in a million flagons' shine,
And glided couples all in whirling trance
Follow holiday revel begun long since,
Until near twelve the strange girl all at once
Guilt-stricken halts, pales, clings to the prince
As amid the hectic music and cocktail ...