Craig Morgan Teicher at Literary Hub:
In Plath we have a unique example of rapid, surging development of a poet’s art. In only seven years—from 1956, when the first poems in her Collected Poems were written, to 1963, the year of her death—Plath went from being an obviously talented and excruciatingly ambitious (as her journals attest) apprentice poet with lots of technique and intensity but few real subjects on which to train those powers, to the author of unprecedented works of genius. In Plath’s first book, The Colossus and Other Poems, the only book of poetry she published in her lifetime, we have an unusual opportunity to pinpoint the moments when her art surges forward in particular poems—we can actually watch her grow as an artist, see a little bit how the magic trick was done, and perhaps learn from it. Plath’s earlier poems have a lot to teach about how poets expand their capacities, how they “find” a voice by listening closely to their own minds, and how genius can be, if not made, then at least willfully courted.