Hemphill ambitiously undertakes a fictionalized portrait of Sylvia Plath in poems, many of them inspired by Plath's own works. Hemphill stays true to the basic framework of the poet's life, highlighting her major milestones: her childhood, college years, her hospitalization and first suicide attempt, as well as her first meeting with poet Ted Hughes—whom Plath would marry (in a poem from his viewpoint, he describes her as "Blond and tall as a magazine/ swimsuit model. I nibble/ at the whippet's neck./ Her lips fury-red, she bites/ me—teeth tearing my cheek./ I retreat, imprinted, stunned")—and her suicide ("She could not help burning herself/ From the inside out,/ Consuming herself/ Like the sun./ But the memory of her light blazes/ Our dark ceiling," Hemphill writes, in the style of Plath's poem "Child"). Accompanying each entry, the author includes footnotes with background information about the people and events alluded to in the poems. Plath committed suicide during a prolific time in her life. Her autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, had just been published, and she was working furiously on a collection of poems (Ariel) which would be published posthumously. Hemphill's innovative portrait may not shed any new light on this tragic figure, but it could well act as a catalyst to introducing Plath to a new generation. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plathby Stephanie Hemphill
Your Own, Sylvia draws on Plath’s writing and extensive nonfiction sources, chronicling Hemphill’s interpretation of Plath’s life from infancy to her death by suicide at age 30. The poems are arranged chronologically and each conveys an experience in Plath’s life told via the voice and perspective of family members, friends, doctors, fellow writers, etc.—as interpreted by Hemphill. Each poem is accompanied by an addendum that further explains the factual circumstances of that poem’s subject. The book also includes an Author’s Note, some photos, a section describing the source material for each poem, and suggestions for further reading.
Gr 8 Up
Through a series of skillfully crafted poems, Hemphill has pieced together a collage of the life and work of the American writer. Arranged chronologically from Plath's birth to the month of her suicide, the poems are written from the points of view of people involved in her life. The voices of Plath's mother; her poet husband, Ted Hughes; and other intimates are interspersed with those of more fleeting acquaintances, each chosen to underscore a unique aspect of the subject's fiery life and tumultuous literary career. Hemphill rises to the challenge of capturing the life of a poet through poetry itself; the end result is a collection of verse worthy of the artist whom it portrays. Form is of paramount importance, just as it was to Plath herself. Many of the selections were created "in the style of" specific Plath poems, while others are scattered with Plath's imagery and language. While the book will prove an apt curriculum companion to Plath's literary works as touted on the jacket, it will also pull the next generation of readers into the myth of Sylvia Plath.
Jill Heritage MazaCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"[R]eaders come away with a sense ofreally knowing Plath . . . a must for any young-adult reader of poetry or Plath."
Starred review, Booklist, February 15, 2007:
"[A]n intimate, comprehensive, imaginative view of a life, which also probes the relationships between poetry and creativity, mental fragility, love, marriage, and betrayal."
Starred review, The Horn Book Magazine, March/April 2007:
"Hemphill's verse, like Plath's, is completely compelling: every word, every line, worth reading."
From the Hardcover edition.
- Random House Children's Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.71(w) x 8.51(h) x 0.96(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 17 Years
Meet the Author
Stephanie Hemphill took her cue from Plath in composing Your Own, Sylvia, writing a poem every day, journaling, and writing frequent letters to her mother (a common practice of Plath’s). She lives in Los Angeles, California.
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Your Own Sylvia is an enormously amazing book about the tourchered soul of Sylvia Plath. From the days of her young girl hood, to that Febuary day where she famously stuck her head in an oven and killed herself. I am a big fan of Plath's work, Hemphill does an amazing job of protraying real life situations in Sylvia's point of view also her brothers, her friends, her many boyfriends, and mother. I would recomend this book to anyone who is a serious reader, loves a good deep book, and is abit of a fan of Sylvia's work. I'm 14 and i understood it but some people my age wouldnt so age range 16 +.
This is the best book I read this year. It will make you want to read all of Sylvia Plath's books, journals, and poems. It is so sad that her talented life was cut short.