National Poetry Month: ‘Ariel’ by Sylvia Plath
“The collection contains some of her most celebrated poems: Lady Lazurus, Daddy; The Moon and the Yew Tree and the titular piece Ariel. Many of these are poems written in a burst of creativity shortly before she took her life. They are poems I’ve read many times over, but only ever as individual pieces of work. When you read them as a collection, the intensity and darkness that’s visible in an individual poem is heightened and magnified many times over.”
I first read Plath’s novel The Bell Jar and her collection of poems entitled Ariel when they first came out in the United States. Their combined impact on me was enormous. and, to this day, “Ariel” remains my favorite poem, second only to “Fern Hill” by Dylan Thomas.
The original edition of Ariel was published after Plath’s death wasn’t what she intended. Her husband, poet Ted Hughes, changed the selection. I see that as a travesty and an arrogant intrusion into her work. I still have the original version of Ariel on my bookshelf. But if you want what the poet intended, take a look at the restore edition from 2004 shown here.