Fashion, Travel, Poetry

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Category - Poetry & Prose

Book Reviews   ·   02/09/2016

The Colossus and Other Poems by Sylvia Plath

the colossus and other poems review cover sylvia plath

Sylvia Plath’s poetry has been recommended to me by nearly every professor or teacher of poetry I have ever had. Now, having read The Colossus and Other Poems, I can see why. Plath’s modern voice–free verse and ripe-to-splitting with evocative imagery and metaphor–feels very similar to my own poetic voice.

Despite this, I am left with an overall sense of disappointment with her poetry. The Colossus and Other Poems seems like a half-baked collection of poetry a college student might hastily put together for an undergraduate thesis. What didn’t I like? In particular, many of her poems followed the simplistic structure of: describe a scene (perhaps a field, a shipyard, or the view out the window) in beautiful detail. Find something dead in it or related to it, and end with a macabre flourish. In general, I disliked that her poetry felt like getting hit with overhead repeatedly with a morbid sledgehammer. After a few poems I felt a creeping sense of “I get it” when each poem circled around to a stanza or set of lines that presented death on a silver platter in a burnt, ochre-hued landscape. I get that collections of poetry need to be thematic, I just like when that theme is woven into the collection with a bit more nuance and subtlety.

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