Friday, July 1, 2011


Question for those who love words:

Is there a better name than novels in verse for these books with short lines that may or may not be poetry?

There MUST be.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Because I adore books in this format. But I think "novel in verse" sets the expectation for poetry. And I don't think many novels in verse actually ARE poetry. Nor do they need to be.

And really, if you want to chase the mainstream reader away from a book, tag it with "verse" or "poetry." I'd love to see a new name emerge!

Meanwhile, here's what's waiting for me:

THE DAY BEFORE by Lisa Schroeder. Have been waiting and waiting for this one! Lisa's YA books are always so romantic... can't wait.

And SONG OF THE SPARROW by Lisa Ann Sandell. Not sure how I missed this one, but it's from 2007. And it's a take on the Arthurian legend, which I lovelovelove! VERY excited to read.

For more poetic goodness, visit Andromeda for Poetry Friday Roundup!


  1. I love novels-in-verse,and have read dozens of them, but I agree with you that most of them are not true poetry. In my opinion, for them to be poetry, each poem should be able to stand alone, but they usually can't. Each spring, I require my middle school students to choose a "verse novel" and write a brief review. At first, kids balk because of the word "poetry." Many of them enjoy reading and writing poems, but reading a whole novel in poems puts them off. However, once they start reading the novel, they discover how much they enjoy this form and go on to read others. I apologize for the long comment, but I do love this form, and I'd like to see more kids take a chance on them.

  2. I'm not sure how to categorize these babies, either. It took me a long time to admit MAY B. was verse just because of the huge mantle poetry is.

    Though I'm not ready to label this genre as non-poetry, either. It's a type of poetry more Sara Holbrook than Billy Collins.

  3. Maybe we should just call them novels. I don't remember novels told as journal/diary entries every getting their own category...

  4. I can't personally agree with just novels, either. Structurally they're different. Word choice is different. Imagery is different. The close-to-the-bone nature of the storytelling is different.

    It's not just terse prose.

  5. Interesting re names. I wish I had an answer. Can see both Mary Lee's and Caroline's points. And yay and blessings for Linda for assigning this form!

    I look forward to reading The Day Before.


Your thoughts?