Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath

by Stephanie Hemphill

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On a bleak February day in 1963 a young American poet died by her own hand, and passed into a myth that has since imprinted itself on the hearts and minds of millions. She was and is Sylvia Plath and Your Own, Sylvia is a portrait of her life, told in poems.

With photos and an extensive list of facts and sources to round out the reading experience, Your Own, Sylvia is a great curriculum companion to Plath's The Bell Jar and Ariel, a welcoming introduction for newcomers, and an unflinching valentine for the devoted.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307493590
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 12/10/2008
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,054,611
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Stephanie Hemphill lives in Los Angeles, California.

Read an Excerpt

If the moon smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
Of something beautiful, but annihilating.
-from "The Rival" by Sylvia Plath
Who are you, Sylvia Plath?
A cold comet locked in place by gravity?
A glint in the cracked ceiling above my bed?
Something shimmers out of your chasm.
Your language feels like words
trapped under my tongue
that I can't quite spit out on my own.
Readers tremble over your pages,
believe you spell out
letter by letter
the words of their hearts.
What's your secret, Sylvia?
Are you the moon?
Or have you become bigger than that?
Are you the sun?
And I wonder,
who can possess the stuff of the sky?
                Can I?

Sylvia Plath signed many letters she wrote to her mother "Your own, Sivvy."
"The Rival" appears in Plath's famous poetry collection, Ariel.


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Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book explores the life of Sylvia Plath through poetry written from the points of view from various people important in Plath's life. Based on biographies written about Plath and with poems written in styles emulating Plath's work, the book traces her life from her early days through her tragic end. Each poem has a footnote offering a context for the poem and further information. The footnotes were really small and in a light print which made it offputting at first. After reading the book, I do want to read some of Plath's work.
amandacb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Your Own, Sylvia is a uniquely-told biographical work told in the style of poetry mimicking Sylvia Plath¿s own poetry. Interspersed among the author¿s own poetry is Plath¿s own poetry; after every poem is a snippet of biographical information told in chronological order. Each poem focuses on a different viewpoint of a person important in Plath¿s life: Sylvia herself, her mother, her brother, her sister, her boyfriends, her college friends, and her husband, Ted Hughes. There are also poems told from the viewpoint of various persons who were witness to or privy to important information in her life, such as various editors and neighbors.Hemphill cautions that ¿although [this book is] based on real events and real people, [it] is first and foremost a work of fiction.¿ Her own poetry ¿[takes] liberties imagining conversations and descriptions and interpreting the feelings of the real people speaking in these poems.¿ Yet, that does not stop Hemphill from portraying a unique chronological timeline of Plath¿s life, hitting on the peaks and valleys of Plath¿s tumultuous existence. While Hemphill¿s poetry is nowhere near as refined as Plath¿s, and the juxtaposition is jarring at times, Hemphill does a fair job of detailing what happened and what she thinks happened, painting a fine picture of biographical details.¿She¿s a wee bit differentFrom the other girls,Cuts her eggs into squares.¿-American Girl, 105¿We discipline ourselves to a lifeOf poetry.¿-Benidorm, 124¿Without poetry she would crumbleLike a dried-out lemon cake,Stale and inedible. She talksBright, but something in her has hardened.¿-Routine, 173¿She says, `When you give someoneYour whole heartAnd he doesn¿t want it, you cannotTake it back.It¿s gone forever.¿¿-Sylvia Begins to Tell the Truth, 189
AmieG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautiful book, great introduction to the style of Plath's work. Wonderful book.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a collection of poems that explores the life of Sylvia Plath through the eyes of her friends and family. I really don't know anything about Sylvia Plath or about poetry, but I enjoyed getting a glimpse of Plath's life through Ms. Hemphill's poems. She includes extensive source notes (yay!) and notes with each poem to explain what event in Sylvia's life inspired that particular poem or to give other information about the truth contained in the poem.
pksteinberg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read Your own, Sylvia by Stephanie Hemphill over the last week. It was well researched and very creative; I enjoyed reading the poems as it re-enforces the work that Plath's biographers have done. I did find its reliance on Rough Magic troublesome. Rough Magic has its moments of goodness and I have often referred to it in my Plath studies. It is a unique approach to examining and reading Plath's life, work, and her friends and family and other acquaintances.I did find two things worth commenting on regarding Your Own, Sylvia. First, there was no poem for an event that took place the week of her birthday in 1960: Heinemann's publication of The Colossus and other poems. Secondly, and this really bothered me, throughout the poems relating to Plath's time in Devon, North Tawton is called Croton. I believe this is what Butscher called North Tawton in his Sylvia Plath: Method and Madness, presumably to protect the names of the innocent. But, I am disappointed that Hemphill overlooked this masking and thus, may perpuate the misnomer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Caylin.D More than 1 year ago
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 +.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.