Ariel: The Restored Edition

By Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath’s poems, which are reproduced in this book as a facsimile of the manuscript left after her death, seem to come from the heart of a woman who is working with the knowledge that at any day she may die. Several of the poems in this selection were written during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and as such they are riddled throughout with deadly imagery and allusions to the horrors of the Second World War. The freshly nuclear age loomed heavy over this gifted poet, and her intimate confessional-style poetry shows the weight of her fear combined with the stress of motherhood and the hardships of daily life.

Plath’s work is not my favorite, aesthetically, but I did enjoy the few bee poems included in this book; they seem to be written in a different style from the rest of the collection, and strengthen my desire to keep bees. Even though I did not find the poems particularly pleasing, I understand, somewhat, why Plath is studied. Her works showcase a woman’s most personal struggle, and are reminiscent of the fearful historical period in which Plath wrote. As such, this book of poetry is almost more like a history book than a piece of literature.