Ariel by Sylvia Plath — a review and analysis

Ariel was the second published collection by Sylvia Plath (1932 – 1963). It came out two years after she took her own life at age thirty. Following is an analysis of Ariel by Sylvia Plath as well as a review, both from 1965, the year in which it was first published.

Plath’s poetry, considered part of the “confessional movement,” was influenced by Robert Lowell as well as by her friend, the poet Anne Sexton, who also explored dark themes and death in her work (and who, like Plath, committed suicide). Depression had been a constant companion, leading to a life of struggle that was reflected in her work. 

Once Plath started to publish, her star quickly rose in the world of poetry. Her first collection, The Colossus, was published in 1960. Its poems were intense, personal, and delicately crafted. In Ariel, the beauty of craft remains even as it reveals the fissures growing in the poet’s psyche. According to the Penguin Companion to American Literature: Read More→


Categories: Book Reviews Comments: (0)

13 Artists’ Portraits of Sylvia Plath (Including Her Own)

Sylvia Plath’s meteoric posthumous rise as a pre-eminent American poet has eclipsed the fact that she was a talented artist as well. When she initially enrolled at Smith College, her first choice of major was studio art. After discovering her talent for writing, her professors encouraged her to major in English instead.

It took a long time for her visual art to come to light. The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery mounted a retrospective of her work in 2017, fifty-four years after her death. A few of the works were self-portraits, including the one at right, and the first one, below. She also enjoyed making collages that were playful and satiric. Read More→


Categories: Gallery Comments: (1)

Fascinating Facts About Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath (1932 – 1963) was a gifted poet who on the surface seemed to have it all: ambition, brains, and beauty. But she was beset by a lifelong struggle with depression that led to suicide at the age of thirty. Following are some fascinating facts about Sylvia Plath, some known well, others less so, but all contributing to a portrait of this beloved poet’s brief life.

Because most of her work was published after her untimely death, she wasn’t able to enjoy the fruits of her labors. Yet her place in the American literary canon is well deserved. Read More→


Categories: Literary Musings Comments: (2)

The Tragic Relationship of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

Sylvia Plath (1932 – 1963) was a gifted writer of poetry who ended her life all too young. Many of the truths behind her final years were exposed after her death, discovered in letters revealing the dark secrets of her tragic relationship with Ted Hughes.

Attractive, smart, and ambitious, she seemed to have what it took to succeed. But it was during her years at Smith College, where she was well-liked and academically adept, that she made her first attempt on her life.

Journal entries in her diary later revealed how much Plath struggled from that time on, until she ended her life at age thirty. Read More→


Categories: Literary Musings Comments: (6)

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was a gifted writer of poetry and fiction whose life ended all too young by suicide. Triggered by the death of her father when she was eight years old, depression took root and led to a life of struggle.

She made no pretense about the degree of her pain in her writings. Plath’s poetry is considered part of the frank and revelatory “confessional movement.”

As a young woman, Plath seemed to have what it would take to succeed. She was attractive, smart, and talented. As a college student at Smith, she was well liked and showed immense academic promise. Read More→


Categories: Author biography Comments: (0)