Sunday, August 26, 2012

Novels in Poems... Deserve a Second Look

I love poetry and I love stories. So it only seems natural to combine them. Novels in verse are, I think, an overlooked snatch of brilliance. Somehow, in less words, they manage to convey characterization, setting and an interwoven plot.

Most recently, I read, where i live, by Eileen Spinelli. It's a story about a girl who enjoys a good game of scrabble, the horsehead nebula and has just won a poetry contest at school. Sadly, just when all is going well, her father loses his job and announces that they are moving.

I can relate with Diana's frustration. My family moved when I was in the second grade from Wisconsin to Ohio. It can be very overwhelming at any age. I still remember stomping upstairs after my parents told me. Just before I slammed my door, I shouted, "Just when I got my life together!" Which just goes to show that I was advanced in my years even at the age of 7, as I was acting exactly like a teenager.

Spinelli shows Diana's gradual transition from one life, to a new city, living with her grandfather and somethings, like a plate of her mother's brownies, that stay the same. I really enjoyed how Spinelli focused in on quiet, significant moments to tell the story, such as in the poem where she tells how Diana's sister, Twink got her name. She uses lists to show what Diana will miss about home, and what her best friend, Rose won't miss about her. And in the end, I feel like I've moved with Diana to a different place as well.


  1. I will have to check it out. It sounds like an excellent read.

  2. Thanks Elizabeth. :) I have a soft spot for poetry...