Short Storys / Dreams / Poetry & Prose
Flights of Fancy: A Book of Poetry, Prose, and Imaginative Short Stories
Publishes fiction, poetry, artwork and nonfiction. Long-established and well-read. Issues are generally based around a theme. A Coventry-based magazine with an international readership. Each issue of Here Comes Everyone has a different theme, and the magazine aims to be accessible and supportive to both published and unpublished writers. This online magazine publishes work in English by new and established poets from The UK and around the world. Alongside a lively and eclectic mix of poetry, each new issue contains an editorial, a literary essay, a selection of poems in translation, poetry reviews and occasional features.
They like inventive writing: images that linger, language that is felicitous, stories that compel. They publish essays, reviews and novel extracts, in addition to fiction. The long-established magazine was created by the late poet James Simmons in May Throughout its lifetime it has maintained a focus on openness, scepticism and subversion. It now publishes poetry, prose, interviews, reviews and features, and welcomes aboard any writer who will join it. A new literary magazine which aims to publish the best new and emerging writers online and in print. The editors of Iceberg Tales are passionate about uncovering the ambitious, thought-provoking pieces of work that they know are hovering just below the surface.
Features prose fiction, poetry, criticism, and artwork. This poetry magazine publishes online every month, and produces a print issue each quarter. Publishes fiction and poetry. A long-established literary magazine, which has now been published for more than thirty years.
Features short fiction and poetry. Publishes fiction, artwork and review. One of the largest sci-fi magazines in the UK. This long-standing poetry magazine has recently relaunched and now also publishes fiction, art, essays, articles and other pieces alongside poetry. Publishes fiction, poetry and artwork with a focus on science fiction. Jupiter is available on Kindle. First published in A literary magazine based at the London School of Economics, which publishes the writing of young women and non-binary people of colour. Each issue revolves around a different theme.
An online magazine which aims to provide useful feedback for the creators it features. When submitting work writers are asked to provide a comment on one existing piece from the magazine — these comments are then passed onto the relevant author. This online magazine based at the University of Cambridge publishes monthly issues on literature, the arts, music and multiple other creative avenues. Each issue is centred around a prompt or stimulus.
Publishes fiction and nonfiction. Accepted pieces are read by actors at a monthly live fiction night. Publishes fiction, poetry and reviews. One of the oldest literary magazines in the UK, founded in Long Exposure Magazine is dedicated to new voices, new ideas, and to seeing the world in different and innovative ways. This project aims to explore both the textual and the visual, bringing to light their dialogues and creative possibilities.
This project attempts to explore the various influences of loss in literature, both by collating original fiction, poetry and essays, and by building a canon of important existing titles. A poetry podcast which grew out of the now-defunct Lunar Poetry Magazine. Includes discussion, interviews and live recordings with poets from around the UK, as well as a featured poem each week. Supported by the Arts Council and archived in the British Library. A long-running poetry magazine. Each issue of Magma is compiled by a different editor, and adhered to a different theme. This new magazine is open to online submissions as well as applications from potential editors.
This magazine has a simple remit — to publish good, new poetry. Send up to four poems per submission. Poets may be from any background, and selected poets are paid for their work. This Irish magazine publishes poetry, fiction and pictures from artists in Ireland and abroad. Publishes only writers who are female, but contains useful articles and entertaining work that can be enjoyed by either gender.
Included here for the sake of completeness. Neon maintains this list of literary magazines. From October this international print journal of art, writing and review will be replaced by a series of pamphlets, available by subscription. During its run the magazine featured poets such as Andrew Motion and Alice Oswald. New Welsh Review is concerned mainly with writing from Wales. Most feature articles are comissioned, but it is open to submissions of fiction and poetry. Nine Muses Poetry is a webzine established in It is edited and managed by Annest Gwilym, poet and occasional short story writer.
It features all forms of poetry by new, emerging and established poets, showcasing the best of contemporary poetry. Nitrogen House began life as a printed zine in , but is now online-only. It is edited, designed and funded by Rachael Tierney, who studied geology for seven years before switching to writing, and is therefore always excited by works featuring rocks. Her genre of choice is science fiction. Based in Scotland.
A new British digital literary journal, publishing original short stories and flash fiction from around the world. A quarterly magazine founded in , and prouduced by Flarestack Poets. Although it has a limited web presence, back issues can be browsed on the website of The Poetry Library. This literary magazine publishes short stories, drama, poetry and flash fiction written by students based in Scotland. It is open to any form or genre of writing. Originally developed as part of the Poetry Scotland site, The Open Mouse is now an independent online publication which features poems by writers from anywhere in the world.
Publishes fiction, articles and columns. Primarily a poetry magazine. Welcomes suggestions for features in addition to prose and poetry. It believes that poetry should be accessible and a part of everyday life. A web journal which publishes unthemed and eclectic poetry. Picaroon Poetry also occasionally publishes chapbooks. Publishes contemporary poets alongside new voices. Runs a competition and regular readings. A fully-illustrated literary magazine that publishes short stories, flash fiction, and poetry from the literary new blood.
Prole is a print magazine that publishes high-quality, accessible poetry and prose. It aims to challenge, engage and entertain — but never exclude. The publisher, Prole Books, also produces chapbooks and runs the occasional competition. An online journal created by embracing the ethos of pulp magazines, and dedicated to providing the general population with quality and accessible writing which hits like a sucker punch — writing that injects excitement and inspiration into those who are hunting for a quick literary fix.
This magazine, based in the North-East Scotland, publishes high-quality prose, poetry and art selected from a unique blend of the global and the local. They maintain a strong commitment to first time writers and artists, and to outreach. They supply copies to worthy causes, local libraries, and schools.
This magazine aims to publish outstanding poetry in multiple formats on the four traditional Celtic quarter days: Imbolc February , Beltane May , Lughnasagh August and Samhain November. This magazine has now been published for more than a decade, with a stunning two hundred issues in its archives.
Features poetry. A journal of creative arts founded by Amy Kinsman in It releases an issue once a month, and is open to submissions of poetry, short fiction, visual art and experimental media. Each successful contributor to this print magazine has three or four pages dedicated to their work — be that poetry or prose.
Publishes fiction. An online literary magazine founded in that aims to provide a home for exciting writers from across the world. Scrittura publishes prose, poetry and dramatic scripts. Publishes fiction, poetry, reviews and artwork. An experimental literary magazine that seeks to explore the concepts of Expressionism, Surrealism and Existentialism. An international journal of weird and eerie fiction. This crowdfunded horror journal has a strong track record of publishing excellent, unsettling fiction. Edited by Dan Coxon. Shooter is a literary magazine featuring entertaining, well crafted stories and poetry from up-and-coming writers, showcasing original artwork on the cover of each issue.
When you subscribe to Shooter, you support writers and artists at the outset of their careers: a crucial time when recognition can make a huge difference. This science fiction magazine wants stories that explore the uncertain future of the world, and play around with both big and little ideas. Published by University Of Plymouth Press.
Also runs an annual short story competition. Bills itself as a literary magazine for nonconformists. Within the pages of Slightly Foxed contributors are invited to discuss their obscure literary loves in a variety of formats. This magazine is designed to celebrate the offbeat and unusual. Established in by Jon Silkin. The pieces featured in the magazine form a response to this starting point.
An online magazine dedicated to the literary short story. Built around a core group of dedicated writers, Storgy also accepts submissions and runs an annual competition. Regularly updated online magazine that publishes an eclectic range of material. Has been publishing in some form or other since This magazine publishes short stories, poetry, essays and interviews, and often features slipstream fiction and poetry in translation.
In addition to providing a platform for new writers of poetry and short fiction, this print magazine based in Belfast aims to publish work with a journalistic focus. Their aim is to offer fresh insights into a variety of subjects through memoir, essay and criticism. An international magazine which publishes a variety of contemporary writers.
It provides critical reviews of recent books, anthologies and pamphlets and essays on a diversity of significant modern and contemporary English and American poets. Produced by the School of English at the University of Nottingham, this journal publishes correspondence-themed writing, with the letter as its main form. Established in , The Reader features a mix of poetry, fiction , interviews, thought pieces, advice and research with a focus on shared reading as a therapeutic activity. Their goal is to make shared reading widely available across the UK.
An online journal for poetry, flash fiction, or any hybrid of the two with a focus on myth, legend, folklore, fable and fairytale. The name of the journal comes from a legend about the legendary Welsh sorceress Cerridwen. The publisher also organises events. The magazine was founded in , and the press began publishing chapbooks and pamphlets shortly thereafter. Publishes fiction and artwork. Established in by Storm Constantine. One of few regular British fantasy magazines. Publishes fiction and reviews.
Wasafiri has a strong international focus, publishing work with a background in many different cultures. It also runs an annual competition. A free print publication focussed on life in East London and beyond. Publishes poetry online on its Facebook page, and may possibly feature it in print in the future. Seeks to publish poetry, prose, art and photography. A brand new journal, currently seeking submissions for the first edition. A new publication that aims to showcase incredible writing in an exciting and well-designed package.
The publisher is funded by Creative Scotland, and has plans to bring out books as well as a literary magazine in the future. What a fine list of magazines — Shoreline of Infinity is proud to be included. Just for clarification, we publish 4 issues a year. Best of luck with the next issue! We also run competitions.
Hi there, the entry for our publication, Bunbury Magazine is listed as having no official website but we do. Thanks for the update, Keri — the entry for Bunbury Magazine has now been amended accordingly. Many thanks for putting together this fabulous list. Every few years I write a handful of poems and return to the dreaded lists, I usually give up at Acumen or Ambit in the As. I always seem to write poems when every mag is closed, or has just published,. Best wishes Cy. Glad to hear you found it useful — and best of luck submitting your poetry.
It is her day time dream to have unfettered access to the fluttering pages of the book. She keeps one lidless eye on the book in the vision in her mind and the other webbed on her own night-time wanderings above a nearly transparent lake.
The Big List of UK Literary Magazines
It reaches every direction and has no shores that she can see in the confined dream world. If you make that face too long it will get stuck that way. Dream of suspension over the dream lake enough and you will have the dragon legs of the beasts that live inside of it. It might be like if you stay in the tub too long and your hands become prunes.
Your mind will shrivel into a packet of brain ramen noodles. Dehydrated and disused. You died in your sleep. Her dream lake might have rivers into the minds of others. I don't know if she hoped to find their land of the dreams brain embryos in the place you go before you were born.
Connected to her one big dream. The only dream she knows. I don't understand their invisible therapy and someone could have come up with an analogy like "on par with a heavy night of drinking" to explain it to me. I have a sense of a facial collapse when the assurance that the great work is as elusive as a real life counterpart to your favorite white knight and horse sex dream scenario. She is attached to the owner of dreams in the figure of Johnny Panic.
What if there was one dryer above all dryers that stole all the pairs of your missing socks. There was once a patient- you can call him Harry Bilbo because that was his name in the story. I think that's an unfortunate name if he were a real person- cured of the panic-light guiding his sleeping life.
I can't help but feel she's talking to herself about the pride and joy of her office that would be in direct opposition to this Johnny Panic if there were such an overlord of collective primordial fears. The day comes. It has to come. The day dreams take over. The cripples banged the dinner gongs with their steps on the tiles. She could have been like the little boy in The Neverending Story who eats his packed lunch and talks aloud of Atreyu and saving the world of stories.
She doesn't have the lunch. An apple will have to do and I felt her longing for the apple in the safety of her desk keenest of all. The face must fall of the invisible safety clinic. The two legs must collapse on pins and needles. Her legs have fallen asleep. A dance of shaking would be in order but she is taken in by the eclipsing appearance of the clinic director.
I do not believe in his authority. It is time to take the cure from bad dreams. I wonder if the barren lands of no dreams stretch out in horizon less worlds of the fruitless trees of other dead lands of the no dreamers. Don't forget me, Johnny. Who is that? It is Johnny Panic himself. He flips off the machine and says to the white coat lights of nothingness: No one puts baby in the corner. Of course he did. I never believed in the white coats.
Shut your eyes and there's a bad dream. That's all they would ever be there for. What I fear most, I think, is the death of the imagination. When the sky outside is merely pink, and the rooftops merely black: that photographic mind which paradoxically tells the truth, but the worthless truth, about the world. It is that synthesizing spirit, that "shaping" force, which prolifically sprouts and makes up its own worlds with more inventiveness than God which I desire.
We must be moving, working, making dreams to run toward; the poverty of life without dreams is too horrible to imagine: it is that kind of madness which is worst: the kind with fancies and hallucinations would be a Bosch-ish relief. I listen always for footsteps coming up the stairs and hate them if they are not for me. Why, why, can I not be an ascetic for a while, instead of always teetering on the edge of wanting complete solitude for work and reading, and so much, so much, the gestures of hands and words of other human beings.
Well, after this Racine paper, this Ronsard purgatory, this Sophocles, I shall write: letters and prose and poetry, toward the end of the week; I must be stoic until then.
Prose as Architecture: Two Interviews with Raymond Carver
This I want too. The silent language of hands, laying on. Words inside and building up everywhere. The worst thing that could happen is to not care any more about stories. This I fear too. Plath wrote this in an early Cambridge journal. I felt this in her stories. That the incarnadine sky of the mind was pushing back against the worst that could happen.
I think about this all of the time. It meant something to me to see it written by Plath so long ago. It feels like my own skin is too small when I'm with others and when I'm alone I feel like it will disappear into me completely. I don't feel that about writing, though. It is the reading that helps me feel the solitary and yet not alone completeness I don't know where or how to find anywhere else. I've written about this to a disgusting degree on goodreads. I write about the same things all of the time. That's the cold shock of finding this from someone else. I don't want to keep saying the same thing and here I am saying it again.
The only thing that makes it better is it isn't my own voice I'm so sick to death of. I cannot say that I had a least favorite story. I don't want to say that because it isn't true. It is more like if you read a story or watched a film and it made you kind of smile. The warmth doesn't fire you up inside to last the whole day. If you walked on the ocean you would have to grab a life preserver of another story or drown.
Something like "The Fifty-Ninth Bears" was like this. A married couple have this bet going. The other holiday amusements are feeling like the holiday is already over and only the bet of who guessed the right number of how many bears they will see is still going like an advertisement bunny. I knew that she was going to see that fifty-ninth bear as the last thing she ever saw. I always knew it and the triumphant I was right imminent death was something like hearing a joke from a family member who is fond of the joke and repeats it to every new person you meet.
You might be prompted to fill in parts because you tell it better. It was comfortable and, well, not my favorite. I felt the same about Sunday at the Mintons'. Oh, Plath can describe anything and I could trace over it in my mind. Something would keep me afloat. I liked this: Hers was a twilight world, where the moon floated up over the trees at night like a tremulous balloon of silver light and the bluish rays wavered through the leaves outside her window, quivering in fluid patterns on the wallpaper of her room. The very air was mildly opaque, and forms wavered and blended one with the other.
The wind blew in gentle, capricious gusts, now here, now there, coming from the sea or from the rose garden she could tell by the scent of water or of flowers. Elizabeth has relinquished her freedom to the blustery dominance of her brother Henry. Henry has a big mouth to devour other's words and desserts.
When she confesses that she never paid attention to the direction she is going to he opens wide and sucks in her confidence to take in as she senses. I would draw him as the cartoon of the blowing cloud only his would suck in her dress. I am all for her floating above him when he topples into the ocean I guess the ocean would say he was blue because the ocean was blue, not the other way around. But could she have floated above I would have been happy. I don't want to feel resigned that is how it happened, that she comes to him again, and I need another story now.
If she could float she could float above another sea and maybe take the arm of a different person. Walk with me a while. Does it have to be blustery big mouths all of the time? Between you and me I love to read short story collections. I dread reviewing them on goodreads. There is the temptation to write about every story.
I feel guilty for what I've left out. My favorite story maybe was Stone Boy with Dolphin. Does anyone else have to destroy everything they write? I had this idea that American Cambridge student Dody felt that way about this stone boy with the dolphin. She sees his face on the boy Leonard.
Leonard was already claimed by the other American Cambridge student Adele. Adele who has the right things to say. The right things to say that you couldn't imagine what the rules were. You don't know what the game board looks like because her pristine blonde face will give you the look that you are from another planet. Sweetly, somehow. You broke the law and are suffered. I hate girls like Adele. I wouldn't want to know someone like Leonard even existed anymore if he could belong to someone like Adele who wants someone who could belong to anyone at all?
I wish she had wanted to break his stone face for this reason but I don't think that's why she bites his face when finally she gets close. If she could break this statue. She doesn't know what it is supposed to be. She could be cured if her foot could break its face. Now that I think about it. He is a prince of pebbles if he's broken down. The Johnny Panic dreams share grands of sand in the dream pool. There is sand in her poetry too. It is grit in the eye and storms. An irritant, too small to notice. Something to be bigger if apart of something else. Glass blown and beautiful.
If she could destroy the statue she could destroy the world that is in her, her art and her soul. The sand is glass after all in a window and the pavement stone. I liked the destructive urge. It feels like that when you don't like how you feel about what you could make. The five boys surrounded Dody.
They had no features at all, only pale, translucent moons for face shapes, so she would never know them again. And her face, too, felt to be a featureless moon. They could never recognize her in the light of day. Plath writes about the nihilism of belonging. Schools, desks, trips, cake, competition and children smiling in rings.
The nuns tried to wipe the smile off her face when she wasn't the tailored image. Behind those injustices and stoic day to day grinds are the descriptions of what everything could look like. At least something it could be, if the grit could be glass and you could see your face in it. I am surprised that more people haven't read this collection.
I was happy to have them. I had them when I couldn't sleep and I repeated what everything looked like to myself. I didn't feel like I was drowning. The glass breaks into shards in towel hidden under your foot when you stole the glass of milk from the other patient. I used to like picking up green bottle shards as a small child. I'd forget about the dirty Alabama school playground. You don't remember when you had your first glass of juice when they give you your second. They've been waiting for something for a long time and your everlasting rising of the sun are alarm clocks of doom.
I think "warm and round, like apples in the sun" is a great way to describe the poisonous words of the nurse. She thinks you'll sleep tonight. Sometimes I forget there's a down side of staying in the world of stories. There's something else that could happen to you while you're asleep.
Sometimes the book is just like that. View all 9 comments. Mar 21, Kirk rated it liked it Shelves: currently-teaching. Reviewing this collection of posthumously published ephemera in , Margaret Atwood called Johnny Panic "a minor work by a major writer. That presumption does a real disservice to the stories in this collection, which by any other standard than the towering accomplishments of Plath's own poetry, are accomplis Reviewing this collection of posthumously published ephemera in , Margaret Atwood called Johnny Panic "a minor work by a major writer. That presumption does a real disservice to the stories in this collection, which by any other standard than the towering accomplishments of Plath's own poetry, are accomplished, varied, experimental, and compelling.
We would do well to remember that Plath launched her career as a storywriter, winning the Mademoiselle creative writing contest in the early 50s with "Sunday at the Mintons. To that, however, would require a reinvention of this collection which differs anyway from the British edition. First, get rid of Ted Hughes' introduction, which doesn't mince words when informing readers that what they're about to delve into is mediocre. I suppose that in the 70s, amid the rushing to market of Plathiana including The Bell Jar , which, lest we forget, nobody ever heard of in America until , such an argument had to be made for the sake of Plath's reputation.
Now that she's an uncontested major, however, it's time to allow the stories to stand on their own merits rather than compete with her other efforts. Second, the book needs reorganizing. The original British version presented the stories chronologically; this version presents them in reverse chronological order.
Either way, readers are urged to consider the fiction within the arc of Plath's career and biography, which already are far too dominant in assessments of her. That way a solid effort like "Tongues of Stone" can stand on its own instead of being considered a precursor to Jar , and a genre exercise like "All the Dead Dears" can be read formalistically.
Finally, the diary passages excerpted here are redunant since the publication of Plath's journals; their presence only serves to undermine the autonomy of her stories. Same for the smattering of journalism, which would more profitably fit as an appendix of the journals. Until something along these lines happen, I doubt Johnny Panic will ever transcend its "minor" status, which will be unfortunate. The title story is brilliant; at least a half dozen entries here are top-notch "The Wishing Box" especially ; and even the weaker ones have some thematic relevance to Plath's trademark issues of creativity, domesticity, and emotional discontent.
They deserve a fairer reading than they've thus far been accorded. View 2 comments. Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams is a wide collection of Sylvia Plaths short stories and a few of her personal diary entries. My reading experience of it was quite the roller coaster, it has stories I absolutely adored, paragraphs that I read dozens of times and will read in the future, but most of the pieces were simply okay. Brilliantly written, yes, they just didnt make feel much and some went way over my head - I couldnt figure out what was the point of them.
I found it extremely interesting to read about her life and thoughts. Though I was a bit confused with all the strange, unintroduced people that were mentioned, which is of course what you get from reading small bits of someones journal. So rating such a collection is quite hard and I ended up giving Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams pretty neutral three stars. I was never hating what I was reading and as I said, I came across some amazing examples of what astounding things can be achieved with words. I love the title story; it is by far my favorite.
I just love how I feel like I'm tagging along silently next to her as she works in the medical office. Her words just roll off of the page here, and I can feel all of the hard work she put into making her descriptions perfect. I also feel immense envy, as I wish I'd written the story myself, so painfully real are her descriptions of her waking life. Next up, I admire 'The Comparison' for its concise description of the differences between a novel I love the title story; it is by far my favorite. Next up, I admire 'The Comparison' for its concise description of the differences between a novel and a poem.
I think of all the stories compiled here, I go back and reread this one the most. I enjoy all of the short stories that feel like they are real anecdotes from her childhood and adolescence, which of course they are. Part 2: Other Stories carries on with more of these childhood centric rememberances. Lasty, Parts 3 and 4 are a slightly different story; I conciously tend to avoid them, as we all know how her story ends. I really feel her reaching in these stories, and sometimes when I read them, all I can imagine is the perfectionistic writer beating her heart out trying to shape her life into beautiful prose.
More than any of her other books, I find this one the easiest to pick up and read time and again.
View 1 comment. You have to really read into them in order to really grasp these stories. In this story we follow a young woman who has a mental problem, and is eventually committed. Except that in this one she touches on immortality. Superman was this metaphorical character, like a dreaming walking America in those years back America was basically Superman, seen as immortal.
Nothing held, nothing was left.
The silver airplanes and the silver capes all dissolved and vanished, wiped away like the crude drawings of a child in colored chalk from the colossal blackboard of the dark. I can easily see Plath on that short fiction tier with the likes of Angela Carter, although seeing as though Plath had not lived a long life, that comparison is seemingly absurd. Plath gets more creative in her short stories than she did in The Bell Jar.
In her short stories she creates some unlikable characters according to some people and puts them in their own little selfish hole of turmoil. From there, she builds worlds and manipulates them to elicit meaning. If you want to read a poet who is similar to Plath, although not as dense, read Ingrid Jonker. She is so understated and by the way, she committed suicide also. Plath's prose is what brings me in. And these short stories bring out a little bit more of that, especially more than, say, "The Bar Jar" had.
Aug 08, Libby rated it really liked it Shelves: summer-reading-list , short-stories. As a huge Sylvia Plath fan, this book was interesting to me for a multitude of reasons. Several of the stories, especially the title story, are fantastic stand-alone short stories without any previous knowledge of Plath's work. However, for me, the really interesting part of this was reading some shorter works and seeing themes and motifs that come up in her poetry and The Bell Jar, such as numerous references to Lazarus. Lady Lazarus is a masterpiece and one of, like, three poems that I can act As a huge Sylvia Plath fan, this book was interesting to me for a multitude of reasons.
Lady Lazarus is a masterpiece and one of, like, three poems that I can actually remember a sizeable chunk of. That was definitely interesting. I felt like the journal excerpts were perhaps redundant given that there's a huge tome of Plath's journals published now. I did enjoy the few excerpts from when she studied at Cambridge, as well as the Cambridge-based short story, because it's my home and it's so lovely and slightly weird to think of one of my absolute favourite writers walking the same streets that I did. Overall, an interesting collection that I think is important in establishing Plath as a significant writer and not just a poet hugely overshadowed by her suicide.
Collaborative Book-Blogging I enjoy taking part in book blogging jollies, but seldom find time to give them my wholehearted commitment. This year alone there have been tempting readathons and readalongs for Iris Murdoch, Muriel Spark, Agatha Christie and Persephone Books, to name but a sprinkling. Participants were asked to read books published only in that year there had previously been clubs for , , , and , and a helpful list of eligible titles was provided to make the challenge easier. This title had been sitting unread on my shelves for a very long time, but until that point I was unaware it had been released in the very year required to take part in this challenge.
I had my book, so why not join in the fun? Her estranged husband, the late Ted Hughes, had complete control over her unpublished work. Doubtless other books came along to lure me away, and Johnny Panic was set aside for another day. Finally reading this volume of Plathian ephemera over the course of a weekend was at times a bizarre experience. I discovered her prose was sharp, sinister and oddly surprising. Her narrative had a jittery intensity. It was filled with foreboding and had a uniquely mirthless quality.
Some stories were stronger than others, but the selection as a whole offered an insight into her development as a writer. I wonder now why it took me so long to read this collection. Perhaps I was waiting for the right moment in my life to fully appreciate this particular work. More likely, I was overwhelmed by the growing number of unread books in my library and, like Johnny, I panicked. Jan 27, Jordan rated it it was amazing. Ignore the hideous, 90s, "multicultural" cover applied to this text in an effort to make classic female authors hip.
Hard as it is, pull your eyes away from the horror. Instead, focus on the meticulous, suffocating power of Ms. Plath's prose. Her poetry in Ariel and The Colossus and Other Poems evokes images of women scorned, scorched, and yet lulled into complacency and love by their micro-worlds. The same is true here, but it's spelled out for you, in shocking detail.
Plath gets you nice and c Ignore the hideous, 90s, "multicultural" cover applied to this text in an effort to make classic female authors hip. Plath gets you nice and comfy, with a hot toddy or a walk on a Spanish beach, and then she takes a baseball bat to your shins with a single line.
After Ted Hughes 's informative-ominous introduction, the stories are published in descending order, from newest to oldest, all the way back to Plath's freshman year at Smith College. It's as if you are peeling away the layers of Plath's mind, and approaching the core of what makes her so brilliant. But you never quite get there. I am especially fond of the titular story, Johnny Panic. An office assistant in a hospital compiles the dreams of psychiatric patients in the "Bible" of humanity's drive, the one true God, Johnny Panic. Our narrator hides her task, but discovery is imminent.
And that discovery has all the blood and vinegar of a Flannery O'Connor novella. I am also fond of Plath's nonfiction, her documentary "writing exercises" from her journals that catalog all of the minute details and idiosyncrasies of her neighbors, as well as all of her hate for them. Love, love, LOVE the darkness, the sarcasm, and the bile. In all, a dark and variegated collection that will entertain a broad spectrum of readers.
Yes, read The Bell Jar , because it's canonical and shocking. But also read this collection, the dark underbelly of her life's work. Buy this title from Powell's Books. Nov 05, Sonny rated it it was amazing. I just re-read this book. It was my first foray into Sylvia Plath and totally got me hooked.