Your Own, Sylvia
A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath
By Stephanie Hemphill
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, Paperback, 9780440239680, 144pp.)
Publication Date: December 23, 2008
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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.
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.
Starred review, Kirkus Reviews, February 2007:
"[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."