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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
News & Announcements
About the Poets
Additional Reading
Sylvia Plath 

Sylvia Plath was born in Boston in 1932. She grew up in a comfortably middle-class style and attended Smith College. She suffered a breakdown at the end of her junior year of college, but recovered well enough to return and excel during her senior year, receiving various prizes and graduating summa cum laude. In 1955, having been awarded a Fulbright scholarship, she began two years at Cambridge University. There she met and married the British poet Ted Hughes and settled in England, bearing two children. Her first book of poems, The Colossus (1960), demonstrated her precocious talent, but was far more conventional than the work that followed. Having studied with Robert Lowell in 1959 and been influenced by the "confessional" style of his collection Life Studies, she embarked on the new work that made her posthumous reputation as a major poet. A terrifying record of her encroaching mental illness, the poems that were collected after her suicide (at age 30) in 1963 in the volumes Ariel, Crossing the Water, and Winter Trees are graphically macabre, hallucinatory in their imagery, but full of ironic wit, technical brilliance, and tremendous emotional power. Her Selected Poems were published by Ted Hughes in 1985.

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Sylvia Plath



I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
What ever you see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful---
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles.  I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart.  But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake.  A woman bends over me, 
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her.  She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.