Sylvia Plath's Poetry


Azadeh Azad
by Azadeh Azad

American poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) was born in Boston, MA. Her father, Otto, died when she was eight. He had been strict with her, and both his authoritarian attitudes and his death drastically defined her relationships and her poems—most notably in her elegiac poem, "Daddy."

After graduating from college in 1955, Sylvia moved to Cambridge, England, on a Fulbright Scholarship. In early 1956, she met the English poet, Ted Hughes and was married to him shortly thereafter.

Plath returned to MA in 1957, and began studying with Robert Lowell. Her first collection of poems, Colossus, was published in 1960 in England, and two years later in the USA. She returned to England where she gave birth to the couple's two children in 1960 and 1962.

In 1962, Ted Hughes left Plath for another woman. That winter, in a deep depression, Plath wrote most of the poems that would comprise her most famous book, Ariel.

In 1963, Sylvia published a semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. Then, on February 11, 1963, during one of the worst English winters on record, Plath committed suicide using her gas oven.

Plath’s poetry is often associated with the Confessional movement and is singled out for the intense coupling of its violent or disturbed imagery and its playful use of alliteration and rhyme.

The Collected Poems, published posthumously, was the recipient of the 1982 Pulitzer Prize. She was the first poet to win a Pulitzer Prize after death.

In the following videos, Sylvia recites three of her poems, which are amongst my favourites: Daddy, Fever 103, and Lady Lazarus.



Fever 103


Lady Lazarus

And …. Sylvia Plath: the Tormented Poet


more from Azadeh Azad
Azarin Sadegh

My mistake!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Didn't I mention about my ignorance about American poets?..:-)

I had read your facebook poem Daddy (where she says she's a jew) and I missed the real meaning behind mistake, MY MISTAKE!

I am going to read your facebook comment. Thank you so much for the clarification! Azarin

PS: Ah, but the parallel between her suicide and the Jewish tragedy was so temptive..:)


Dear Azarin

by Azadeh.Azad (not verified) on

Sylvia's father was German, but not Jewish. Please read my comment on facebook page.


Azarin Sadegh

My comment on facebook page about Daddy:

by Azarin Sadegh on


So haunting!

A difficult childhood by any definition; Being a Jew in 30's, having a father hated by most people, having a kind of blood cursed by the most humanity. And a difficult teen years; to witness the death of her father and so many killing of people like herself, being emotionally orphan in war times.

Why should we be surprised by the depth of the loneliness in her poem? Why should we be surprised for the way she killed herself?

By gas. By gas. By gas, in an oven.

Thanks Azadeh Jan for posting these wonderful poems!


AmirAshkan Pishroo


by AmirAshkan Pishroo on

You're right when you say, "But there is always this huge thirst for life in any suicidal thoughts." 

This is because humans are driven by two conflicting central desires: the life drive (libido) and the death drive (Thanatos).

The life drives promote survival by avoiding extreme unpleasure and any threat to life, while the death drive functions at the same time toward extreme pleasure, which leads to death: the Nirvana Principle.


Azarin Sadegh

Dear Azadeh,

by Azarin Sadegh on

Dear Azadeh,

Thank you so much for sharing these videos, especially for someone like me who is totally ignorant about the American modern poetry! But these poems are so dark and the 4th video so depressing...

I have always had the most respect for those who choose the full path of their lives,...and their death. But there is always this huge thirst for life in any suicidal thoughts.

Thanks Azadeh!


AmirAshkan Pishroo

without pity, if not without mercy

by AmirAshkan Pishroo on

I got to know her works via Anne Sexton, another confessional poet.

They both took their lives almost in a similar manner, though each death is unique:

Sexton locked herself in her garage, started the engine of her car and committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. Plath placed her head in the oven while the gas was turned on.

They both were without pity, if not without mercy.

Very good post, Azadeh.

Keep keeping on, sister!


Forough comes to mind

by Anonypishi (not verified) on

Thanks for sharing Azadeh. I enjoy her poetry as well. Her style reminds me of Forough Farokhzad. I like the movie Sylvia too.