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          Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

                  Full Fathom Five

First Line: Old man, you surface seldom.

This poem was written in 1958, and first published in 1960. As such, it is protected by copyright and cannot be displayed without permission of the copyright holder. It can be found, for example, in:

  • Plath, Sylvia. The Collected Poems. Ted Hughes, ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1981.

    Sylvia Plath's father died one and a half weeks after her eighth birthday. Her first poem was published in the Boston Herald before she turned nine. Plath was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1982 after the publication of her collected poems. The collection's editor, Ted Hughes, had been her husband, and would later be named Poet Laureate of England. Much of his collection Birthday Letters concerns Plath's suicide and her relationship with the memory of her father.

    The phrase "Full Fathom Five" appears in Ariel's Song in the Tempest by Shakespeare.