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..And I Am the arrow,The dew that flies, Suicidal, at one with the drive Into the red Eye, the cauldron of morning.
July 27, 2012 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Ariel
Stasis in darkness.
Then the substanceless blue
Pour of tor and distances.

God's lioness,
How one we grow,
Pivot of heels and knees! ---The furrow

Splits and passes, sister to
The brown arc
Of the neck I cannot catch,

Nigger-eye
Berries cast dark
Hooks ---

Black sweet blood mouthfuls,
Shadows.
Something else

Hauls me through air ---
Thighs, hair;
Flakes from my heels.

White
Godiva, I unpeel ---
Dead hands, dead stringencies.

And now I
Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas.
The child's cry

Melts in the wall.
And I
Am the arrow,

The dew that flies,
Suicidal, at one with the drive
Into the red

Eye, the cauldron of morning.
On ''Ariel''

Ariel Redux
posted by y2karl (18 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Love this.

Also, I don't know how to read poetry. I would never be able to figure out where the pauses and stuff go based on the text. Is that a thing? Should I learn that? Or is it up to the reader?
posted by lazaruslong at 2:11 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


See also The Ode Less Traveled .
posted by y2karl at 2:18 PM on July 27, 2012


You just linked me Stephen Fry as a reference?

....

he's my heeeeeeerroooooooooo
posted by lazaruslong at 2:20 PM on July 27, 2012


Wait, Plath was Sauron?
posted by clvrmnky at 2:21 PM on July 27, 2012


God I wish she'd gotten old.
posted by R. Schlock at 2:24 PM on July 27, 2012


Thanks, a very favorite of mine. And lazaruslong, the best poets -- dare I say, real poets -- tell you exactly how to read their work. They build in the rhythm and breaks and emphasis and questions and momentum, it's all there. To me, that's what makes a poet, someone who can do that. Mary Oliver, herself no slouch, helps.
posted by thinkpiece at 2:52 PM on July 27, 2012


You just linked me Stephen Fry as a reference?

....

he's my heeeeeeerroooooooooo


Not only that, but, as today is my birthday, and, as one of my tenants just sent me an Amazon gift card, so, as much as I hate contributing to Evil Jeff Bezos' Empire, I just ordered it, after seeing it in a bookstore yesterday.

Whee ! /Maxwell the Geico Pig
posted by y2karl at 3:01 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I don't know how to read poetry. I would never be able to figure out where the pauses and stuff go based on the text. Is that a thing? Should I learn that? Or is it up to the reader?

If there's punctuation -- and

often there is -- just use

that. Plath does while reading

this.
posted by notyou at 3:10 PM on July 27, 2012


This from the last days of Freudian analysis. Ariel begs for analysis with multiple meanings in almost every word. Critics love this poem so they practice their art upon it. For me it is a dark foreshadowing the musings of a tired soul. While this poem is not about suicide just voicing the word tells us the thought was not far from her mind. You picked a good one to hold up to mefi.
posted by pdxpogo at 3:12 PM on July 27, 2012


Maybe Mr. Bezos just got a little less evil?
posted by thinkpiece at 3:47 PM on July 27, 2012


So this isn't about a little mermaid?
posted by Splunge at 4:09 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Empire aside, yes.
posted by y2karl at 4:09 PM on July 27, 2012


Also, I don't know how to read poetry. I would never be able to figure out where the pauses and stuff go based on the text. Is that a thing?


The way I was taught, which has served me well, is that it's best to read it somewhat like prose.

React to the puctuation, but try to ignore line breaks, stanzas and so forth. Be aware of the rhythm and musicality of the work, but don't let it dominate your reading - you want to avoid a singsong tempo. Read the poem many times to yourself so you can determine what you want to emphasize - the beauty of the words working together, the ideas, the emotions. I also recommend reading it several times so you don't find yourself caught off guard*.

The way a poem looks on a page is part of the art, but not so much part of how it is spoken.





*Because crying in front of a whole classroom full of people is kind of embarassing and it will likely mess up your reading. TRUST.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:20 PM on July 27, 2012


The way a poem looks on a page is part of the art, but not so much part of how it is spoken.

Yeah, that works
For me.
posted by mule98J at 5:34 PM on July 27, 2012


I really thought this post was going to be about this awesome band.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:43 PM on July 27, 2012


Another Ariel by an even more awesome band: October Project with the phenomenal voice of Mary Fahl.

Had to throw this in because there are very few songs recorded that can make me spontaneously cry and three of them are on the first October Project album. Ariel is one, and here are the other two. Excuse me, there's something in my eyeeaawwwwwwoooo...
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:59 PM on July 27, 2012


I am always surprised by Plath's voice when I hear her recordings.

Gosh, I think I recited this poem hundreds of times to myself in our echoey bathroom in high school. Those last few lines, the title of this post, are so soul satisfying to say out loud because of all those strong hard vowels and the scansion. Thanks for this post.

I thought this was poignant from the end of the Slate article: "Hughes did get Plath's poems. And in a strange way, there is something moving about what he did. It is surely an emotionally complicated task to spend two years carefully reorganizing the work of your dead wife so as to persuade someone to publish a book that will implicate you in her tragic fate. And the irony is that, in reorganizing Ariel to emphasize the ultimate price of Plath's emotional injuries, Hughes, like Samson, brought down the walls of the temple around him, even as he helped his wife take flight."
posted by onlyconnect at 8:29 PM on July 27, 2012


Thanks for this; a superb series of links, worthy of the poem—it's good to be reminded how wonderful a poet Plath at her best was. And I agree with onlyconnect, the Slate piece was moving in its analysis of Hughes (it's taken me years to stop feeling visceral anger against him, but I'm now able to think fairly objectively about their separate lives and works and their relationship).

> The way I was taught, which has served me well, is that it's best to read it somewhat like prose.

React to the puctuation, but try to ignore line breaks, stanzas and so forth.


Oh how I hate that way of reading poetry! I mean, whatever works for you, to each his own, but all the great readers I've heard have paid close attention to "line breaks, stanzas and so forth." To ignore them seems so perverse to me I don't even know how to discuss it. And I hate the way actors tend to read poetry, declaiming it without regard for its real poetic qualities but squeezing all the "drama" they can out of it.

Listen to Anna Akhmatova read her Requiem; even without knowing Russian, I imagine you can hear how she moves from poetry to prose at 0:24 and from prose to poetry at 1:20. Poetry is different from prose. Why elide the difference?
posted by languagehat at 11:13 AM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


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