When Sylvia Plath's Ariel was published posthumously, A. Alvarez in the Observer wrote: 'If the poems are despairing, vengeful and destructive, they are at the same time tender, open to things, and also unusually clever, sardonic, hard-minded . . . They are works of great artistic purity and, despite all the nihilism, great generosity . . . the book is a major literary event'. This selection made by Ted Hughes from all her work shows that Sylvia Plath is clearly a major poet of the twentieth century.