I’ve been a little behind in my weekly round-ups, sorry! Here’s what’s been happening in verse novels lately:
At the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference there was not one but TWO sessions on verse novels. Here’s what they talked about:
Poetry Serving Story Serving Teens: Verse Novels for Young Adults. (Holly Thompson, Ellen Hopkins, David Levithan, Mariko Nagai, Samantha Schutz) Writers of novels in verse and poems will discuss the craft of narrative verse and the compelling use of poetic elements to drive stories that can deeply impact the lives of young adults. This panel will elaborate on challenges of characterization, dialogue, and plotting within verse; the wide range of forms and structural approaches employed today; and the effects and appeal of distilling complex stories for teens into verse.
Staggered Tellings: Immediacy, Intimacy, and Ellipses in the Verse Novel. (Kevin Clark, Wendy Barker, Rita Dove, Kevin Young, Andrew Hudgins) Marrying intimacy of voice to the dramatic arc of a story, the verse novel continues against all odds as an engrossing genre. Our panel will offer answers to key questions, including: What does the verse novel do that the prose novel does not? What is the effect of elliptical plotting? Is narrative subordinate to character? Do authors outline before writing? Do readers find it a more intimate form? How does the poet balance interior life and exterior events?
I’m calling this as a win for verse novels. I hope someone who attended or presented can let me know how it all went.
Here’s a bit of translation from Death on Rúa Augusta, a Verse Novel by Tedi López Mills courtesy of Intranslation
LOCOMOTION by Jacqueline Woodson is reviewed by For the Love of Books.
THE LIGHTNING DREAMER by Margarita Engle is reviewed by Books 4 Fun.
ONE OF US by Gilbert Frankau is reviewed by Reading 1900-1950