Book Review for Ariel: The Restored Edition:

Subterranean Blue Poetry

Volume IX Issue I


Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Ariel: The Restored Edition

Author: Sylvia Plath

Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics

Date of Publication: 2004

Pages: 211

"I'd sing until the world fell dead asleep . . ."
- from Ariel by Elway

"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark"
- from Hamlet by William Shakespeare

"All suicide is murder"

Sylvia Plath. And all that the name conjures. Poet, iconoclast, an innovator of new poetic form, wife, mother, a woman with a conflicted love life, a woman in trouble. Sylvia Plath. A literary light, an intelligent, one who is beautiful, as if struck by lightning, in her words "with my 60-watt light bulb head." Raising questions about the elite, about how people treat each other, about the treatment of smart beautiful women, about bed rites, about the dominant culture, the Old Culture oeuvre and the abuse of innocents.

Ariel: The Restored Edition is an all-inclusive republication of Ariel with 13 new poems, poems from the original manuscript that had been edited out. This new Edition was authorized by Plath's daughter, Frieda Hughes.

These new poems are of the quality Plath trademark and contain a marked increase in the level of subtle emotional violence. This poetry dwells in a conflicted personal landscape, someone with a mental health history, 2 young children, a conflicted intimate relationship, perhaps other conflicted intimate relationships. Coming of age in the 1950s in a society of distance, the close virtual world of the New Economy does not exist yet, the world was not cognizant, an experiment with the economy and open bed rites was just coming to the fore. It was a society steeped in the Old Culture, of one-upmanship and secret ballistics, love lives in corrals, a society with rules that were easy to withhold as they are unwritten and may have been largely lost in the morphing to the industrialized society. An unhealthy pall of broken, an oeuvre of secrets, what is hidden, an old man stands in the hallway, garbled speech, talking, his face behind his hand. Overconstructed, a society that controls for outcomes, manifesting suffering, people were cogs in the machine on a good day. A society of hidden crime. Psychiatry was anti-diluvian, often based in political ascription, people medicated and given electroconvulsive therapy, insulin coma treatments when the vast majority needed better mentoring and discernment in life and love, an understanding of The Holy Spirit Way and effective therapy, Deep Process Work (not invented until 1981). When people control for special information and or lie, compromising their reputations, it is easy for the "victim" to be caught out, out of the loop which has severe negative consequences in violence in the dominant culture, often manifesting human rights abuses, suicide and compromising safety. A world of overconstructed personal lives and hidden agendas, the karmic dissonance of a missed Starcrossed lover on a SignfromGod translates as chaos.

Plath's writing itself is iconoclast, telling the barest truth, a dark emotional landscape in broken neoclassical forms. A certain truncated delivery in parallel with the growing Beat Poetry genre just coming to the fore in the United States. The poetry is driven by broken nature images and a dark Medieval mystery that manifests in the symbols and archetypes of the Old Culture. The royaume symbols, the bees, Victoriana, rabbits, candles, the moon, keys, flowers, gods and goddesses, the dark of mystery within the historical oeuvre that brilliantly dresses the work. The hidden essence, a conflicted past, the push and pull of a conflicted intimate relationship, the poetry drips with depression that soothes with the written voice.

The images, the tone and the magic of the woven are a sophisticated progression from the works of the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, William Shakespeare and perhaps Virginia Woolf. With her incredible offering she is an iconoclast in her own right and she has joined the greats as one of the percursors of the New Gothic Literature of the New Age. Ariel: The Restored Editon by Sylvia Plath.

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Subterranean Blue Poetry

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