A biography in verse
Finally, teen readers can dig into Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill. What better way to learn about the tragic, prize-winning poet than through verse? This series of short poems discusses incidents in the poet's life, from her birth in Boston in 1932 to her suicide in London in 1963, and includes short biographical notes that offer the reader additional details. The poems are written from the imagined perspectives of family members, friends and other acquaintances. Hemphill's depiction of Plath is lively and unique. In a note to readers, Hemphill calls her book a work of fiction, explaining that she has taken liberties imagining conversations and descriptions and interpreting the feelings of the real people speaking in these poems. Here's a poem written from the viewpoint of Plath's best friend in fifth grade: She wizards her way / through woods and fences, / makes things happen. / Sylvia sees a door / where other people see a wall, / but where will it lead? Your Own, Sylvia (the title is taken from the closing Plath used on letters to her mother) will mesmerize teenagers interested in poetry and one acclaimed poet's mercurial path through life.