Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Novels-In-Verse

on April 15, 2013

The other day on the Nerdy Book Blog, there was a great blog post about novels-in-verse. 

Teacher, Lauren Strohecker blogged about her top ten favorite novels-in-verse including: LOVE THAT DOG, PIECES OF GEORGIA, SOLD, and INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN. Strohecker’s post includes both middle grade and young adult books. You can read that post here.

I was first introduced to novels-in-verse during my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College. Author, Ron Koertge was my first workshop adviser, and a master at writing novels in verse. My favorite novel-in-verse by Ron Koertge is BRIMSTONE JOURNALS which tells the story of  group of high school sophomores. The poems are written in the view point of multiple characters in one sophomore English class and woven together to tell a complete story.

Brimstone

In the detention center poetry workshop, one of the ways I teach poetry is by integrating young adult novels written in verse. You can see the entire list of young adult novels and memoirs used in the poetry workshop here. This list includes all of the books we have used, not just novels-in-verse.

The detention center teens’ favorite novels-in-verse books are those by Ellen Hopkins such as CRANK.

270730

CRANK is the story of a teen struggling with a drug addiction to crystal meth. It is based  on the experience of Hopkins’ daughter.  I often use some of the poetry as jump off places for the teen’s writing. For example, this section of CRANK where the drug as described as “monster.”

Flirtin’ with the Monster

Life was good
before I
met
the monster
After,
life
was great,
At
least
for a little while.

The following is the poem a young man at Denney wrote in response to the monster excerpt above:

Teen Boy

THE MONSTER WITHIN
There’s a monster within me
It’s anything but sane
It’s anything but tame
I hope me and it never become one and the same.
It’s full of an evil blind rage
Locked away, inside me
Like a wild bird in a cage
Just waiting for a chance to escape and fly free.
I hope me and it never become one and the same.

For the monster within will never
be completely tame.

Written in the YA/Memoir Poetry Workshop, June 2011

To read more of the teens in detention poetry check out their blog here.

All four published chapbooks can be downloaded for free as PDF files here.

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2 responses to “Novels-In-Verse

  1. Jen says:

    That is a helluva poem you inspired! Love the rhythm he’s got going in there.

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