“The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.” Sylvia Plath

I hadn’t read Plath for years, but when I recently heard a BBC recording of her reading Tulips, I pulled out my copy of Ariel to say hello to an old friend.

Ariel was published posthumously back in the 60s, and contains the poems written in the last months of her life. The collection,  as Robert Lowell writes, was “rushed out at the rate of two or three a day.”

For me, re-reading Ariel, reminded me of why I liked Plath’s work so very much, and how in awe I was of her willingness to open her skin to all of us who sat on the other side of the page.

Not surprisingly, after all these years, her words still sting with an anger that’s barely concealed. And, even now – some forty years later, I can’t read Daddy without shivering; the horror she paints takes the breath away.  Like the Tulips.



Images Courtesy Erik Strum and Tim Green