Crossing the Water : Transitional Poems by Sylvia Plath
New York : Harper & Row, 1971. Second Printing with numbers line beginning with 2345678910 on the last page. Hardcover. 56 pages ; 22 cm. $5.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Half of the front free endpaper has been removed. Pages are unmarked and clean. Binding is firm.
The poems in this collection were written in the period between the publication of The Colossus (1960) and the posthumous book Ariel (published in England in 1965). As a group, they illuminate an extremely important period in Sylvia Plath7s life; they also mark the point at which her work moved beyond great promise and competence and began to burn with genius. As she gathers power and control, there is a corresponding darkening of her vision—the result is a stunning book; at least one critic (Lyman Andrews in the London Sunday Times) feels it is her best: "Assurance was sometimes lacking in her earlier poems, and in the last poems at times there was loss of control, while these poems are an almost perfect marriage of strength and elegance."
Peter Porter, writing in the New Statesman, says-. "It's important to stress that [these poems] are not Ariel left-overs Crossing the Water is full of perfectly realized works. Its most striking impression is of a front-rank artist in the process of discovering her true power. Such is Plath's control that the book possesses a singularity and certainty which should make it as celebrated as The Colossus or Ariel. In the security of theorizing, it makes bad art to find death's chrysalis in every stage of life. But Sylvia Plath runs counter to our schools of 'life-enhancing' critics—she deals in what most people cannot accept. And we, her legatees, profit by her courage."
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