Review: Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill

sylviaReaders 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?


Born and raised in Massachusetts, Sylvia Plath first gained recognition for her writing when she was just a small child. Her genius only grew, but like many brilliant artists she was a troubled soul.

This beautiful verse novel takes us from the very beginning to the very end of her life. The poetry switches perspective including Sylvia’s closest family members, her boyfriends, her teachers, and her husband. Intermittedly, Hemphill uses Sylvia’s own unique forms to fashion strong and evocative poems. Why is this book told through poetry? Poetry most effectively conveys the complex emotions of Sylvia and the people in her life–be prepared to laugh, to cringe, and to cry. This is a fitting tribute for the woman who gave us such grand works as The Colossus and Other Poems, Ariel, and The Bell Jar. 


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