31 May 2009

Sylvia Plath's Last Book of Poetry

For the last week, many visitors to the blog have come via the keywords "Sylvia Plath's last book of poetry". In order to help you out with this, here is a summary of Sylvia Plath's "last book of poetry".

The Colossus: This was Sylvia Plath's first published book of poetry. It was also the last book of poetry published in her lifetime.

Ariel: this was the last book of poetry Sylvia Plath prepared for publication before her death. It was also the last book of poetry published under her name in the 1960s.

Winter Trees: This collection was the last book of poetry published - not including limited editions - in the 1970s.

The Collected Poems was, for four years, the last book of Sylvia Plath's poetry published until the Selected Poems was published in England in 1985 and in the US in 1998.

Ariel: The Restored Edition, published in 2004, is the last book of poetry by Sylvia Plath prepared to be published.

The Collected Poems was re-issued in 2008 by Harper Perenniel in the US, making this the last book of poetry published by Sylvia Plath.

Sylvia Plath (poems selected by Ted Hughes) was re-issued on May 7, 2009, by Faber in England, making this the last book of poetry published by Sylvia Plath.

I consider both Ariel and Ariel: The Restored Edition to be so good that almost no poetry after it counts at all. Making it the last book of poetry.


panther said...

The trouble with writing the last book of poetry is, of course, what can one possibly write afterwards

SP clearly thought ARIEL was out of the ordinary ("These poems will make my name," she write to her mother late in 1962) but I wonder if she did have any ideas for a follow-up ? The poems "Mystic", "Balloons," "Words" and "Edge" were apparently intended (according to Hughes, at least) to be part of her next collection. Yet they feel so final, especially those last two, and I don't think this is just me reading them, as I must, as we all must, with hindsight.

Irene said...

Thank you for your brilliant summation. This is helping crossword dolts like me everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter - the reason so many people have been searching for SP's last book of poetry is because that was a Sunday NYT crossword puzzle clue from last week! kim

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