Friday, February 22, 2008

Poetry Friday--Sylvia Plath

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath
By Stephanie Hemphill
Knopf, 2007

I have been dying to read this book ever since it first came out in 2007. I waited and waited and waited for my local library to carry it, but they still haven’t added it to their lists. So I bought it. I’m so glad I did. This is definitely a book I’m glad is now part of my collection.

Stephanie Hemphill has done an amazing job with this book. Not only has she meticulously researched Sylvia Plath’s life and the people that were important to her, but she also has written about her life through the viewpoint of those people through poetry. Each poem is from the point of view of a particular person in Sylvia’s life writing about her. While Hemphill is the one writing, and acknowledges that this is a work of historical fiction, she has researched each event and person carefully. At the bottom of each poem, there are a few sentences or short paragraphs with additional facts or explanations for the reader. She also writes poems about Sylvia Plath in the style of some of Plath’s own poems.

There is an author’s note, source notes, and extensive bibliography at the end.

What I think is most appealing about this book is that is so beautifully written. People might be drawn to the book because they want to learn about Sylvia Plath, or already love her work. But readers will savor this book for the poetic fervor with which it was written.

To celebrate this book, I give you part of one of the poems in the book.

St. Botolph’s Party: Meeting Sylvia Plath
Ted Hughes, poet, Sylvia’s future husband
February 25, 1956

I may be black panther
but she draws my blood,
swirls whiskey-headed
around the dance floor,
dizzy on my poetry.

Her mind traps my lines
with the proficiency
I quote Shakespeare’s.
She adores my words,
whispers that I will be
part of the pantheon.


Poetry Friday Round-Up is at Big A Little a

3 comments:

Kim Bookwriter said...

Tag! You're it!
Hi Marcie...
It's almost the weekend, so...
I've tagged you on my blog for "5 Random Things about me."
Ever played?...

Stone Stoop


Kim Norman

Kim Bookwriter said...

Tag! You're it!
Hi Marcie...
It's almost the weekend, so...
I've tagged you on my blog for "5 Random Things about me."
Ever played?...

Stone Stoop



Kim Norman

Cloudscome said...

I read this book because it was a Cybils finalist for poetry. I enjoyed it quite a bit and learned a lot about Plath. I hadn't read much of her work since college and this collection brought it all back. Thanks for the review!