Hemphill, Stephanie (2007). Your Own Sylvia, a Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 261 pages.
It's obvious that I'm in a poetry rut at the moment and probably imperative that I read something different for awhile. This biography of Sylvia Plath is simply o.k. The author took on a hard task trying to mimic the work of a master. Hemphill did well, but not good enough for me to love the book. She tells the story of Plath's life from beginning to tragic end using poems written from the point of view of those who knew her. There was the occasional insertion of one of Plath's poems rewritten to describe her life.
Here are a few impressions from the book:
- The author had a heavy feminist bias. Apparently men only use you as an object, drain all of the talent out of you, and break your heart. She did not relate it well only to Sylvia's situation which made the work biased..
- The descriptions of Sylvia's suffering were excellent. The poems were fast-paced and agonizing - this was good work.
- I did find that most of the poetry lacked in the occasional emotion as mentioned above. The metaphors seemed off and it all seemed like a stretch to be poetic rather than fluid poetry.
- I can see the appeal in this book for a young audience especially those interested in Plath's writing or other similar characters.
Overall, however, the book really wasn't for me. Now to move away from poetry.