Poetry and Novels, and How They Mix


And I’m back! I have no posts scheduled because I took a complete break, but I shall get some written up and scheduled soon. Also, a bunch of new comments appeared on the blog while I was on my hiatus, and I will be getting to those…sometime. I’ve been feeling a little bit like butter spread too thin recently, but that break was refreshing.

Today I’m participating in the TWCT blog chain hosted by Teens Can Write, Too! The prompt for this month is pretty awesome: “What are your thoughts on reading or writing books in non-novel formats? Are there any you’ve particularly enjoyed?” Oh, goody.

Although I will always prefer the traditional novel format, novels told in different formats can be wonderful for a change of pace in reading. I especially love reading poems in verse. I am a lover of poetry because if written well, a poem can offer vivid imagery in such a small amount of words. Whenever I’m in the mood for a little bit of absolutely gorgeous writing, I can always look to my favorite poems. (I suggest “O Me, O Life” by Walt Whitman, “Sestina” by Elizabeth Bishop and “The Bells” by Edgar Allen Poe.)

I love that I can read a poem over and over again because they are so short, and understand that poem even more with each reread. There is so much subtly hidden in between the lines when reading poetry, and rereading a poem helps to let all that gorgeousness sink in. I also love how rhythmic poems often are, especially those by Edgar Allen Poe. I just can’t handle all the gorgeousness. And that’s why I love reading novels in verse.

Verse does not work for all novels, but when used for the right one, it helps to create a short story that packs a powerful punch. I find that so much can be hidden in between the lines of poetry, and a lot of times,  the subtlety in poetry prompts the reader to think. I want to read novels that make me think, and the sparse nature of novels written in verse is an excellent way of making me think.

If you’re looking for some beautiful novels written in verse, I suggest Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanha Lai, and The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. All of these novels tell powerful stories. The first tells the story of a girl braving the Dust Bowl, the second tells the story of a girl braving a move from her native country, and the third tells a story of a girl and her relationship with animals at the zoo. There’s a sparseness to these stories that fits them perfectly well, and the poetry aspect packs so much emotion into one novel.

As for writing a novel in verse…well, I’ve never tried that, and I honestly don’t see myself trying it. However, I do sometimes try my hand at poetry to help me with my novel and short story writing. The wonderful thing about poems is that most of them are short. When I revise a poem, I don’t have to face a daunting amount of words to perfect. I can focus on perfecting only a few words, which allows me to study my rhythm, word choice and subtlety really in-depth. And that makes recreating that editing on a larger scale so much easier. Writing poetry is the perfect exercise for fiction writers, you guys. Do it.

And that’s it for today. Do go check out the rest of the blog chain. 






















27th – https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)



21 thoughts on “Poetry and Novels, and How They Mix

  1. Welcome back; it’s good to hear you had a refreshing break! 🙂 I have read “Out of the Dust,” I believe, I think twice (all I can remember is that she accidentally kills her mom, I think) but I haven’t read many more novels in verse. They’re interesting to listen to out loud, as I did in elementary school, but I haven’t read beyond it. I do have to agree that poetry is fantastic, though. 🙂


  2. I love that you made your prompt about poetry. It’s one of my favorite things to read and write, although I have to admit that I’ve never read a novel in verse before.


  3. Oh yes, poetry is definitely great for a quick breather between novels! There’s just that sense of rhythm and lushness that’s rarer in novels. (Would love to find more novels with a literary style, though …) Especially since I follow a smattering of Tumblr and online poets, and honestly, nothing beats making another unpublished writer feel appreciated.


  4. Yes this is awesome! I’ve always wanted to get into more poetry, but never heard of any good books or anthologies that I would like. Maybe it’s because I’m not good at subtlety. But I want to read more verse books! I will check out the ones you recommended 🙂 THANKS ANA. AND AWESOME POST


  5. If you like J.R.R tolkien, some of his novels are in verse. I haven’t read any of those poems or novels in verse but I occasionally like writing haikus, if that counts. I think I might consider reading a novel in verse if I can find one in a topic I like. I have read some Edgar Allan Poe stories, but I found them quite creepy. Great post, Ana!


  6. I’m admittedly not as into poetry as I should be (I’m working on that, though) but I totally agree with your points. I love that they are so short, and that each time you read one, you understand more. Also, in general, a good poem can just be so familiar and calming, kind of the way a good song is.

    I’ve actually never read a book in verse, so I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for those. 🙂


  7. I’ve been wanting to participate in this blog chain for ages! It looks like so much fun. I’ve only read a few books in verse (although I did recently read a novel told entirely in lists) but I would love to start reading more. I think I’ll check out The One And Only Ivan–it looks so cute! Writing a novel in verse a great idea and when executed well, it can be a powerful tool. That said, I don’t think I could personally ever pull it off, and I’m constantly amazed by authors who can!


  8. I am in awe of authors who are able to write entire novels in verse. I’ve only read a couple (I’m trying desperately to remember the name of the one I liked the most but apparently my memory has a wire loose again). I’m new to the world of poetry, but it’s definitely a great exercise for fiction writers. For me it challenges me to imagine stronger, more unique ways of saying things in fewer words.


  9. I actually have a novella going that feels more like verse than anything, which is why it’s come along so slowly. Not only is it set in France from the POV of a ghost, but she chooses to speak in poetry (usually it doesn’t rhyme) and I get so nervous about whether I can pull it off!


  10. I’ve never read any novels in verse. It sounds very intriguing and I will definitely check out the ones that you mentioned! (Also – I ADORE Poe and Whitman! “The Bells” is awesome.)


  11. I love poetry!! ❤ Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman are two of my favorite poets EVER 😀 Can I give you some rec's? I suggest you read "O Captain, My Captain" by Walt Whitman (though I think you've read this already) and "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe. Both poems are the saddest, but they're so beautiful. :')


  12. I used to really dislike poetry, but I appreciate it a lot more now. I love how much revision and work goes into the word-crafting, not just the content. I totally agree that it’s a good exercise for any type of writer.

    I really like “alternative” novels. There’s some really good ones that are set up like scrapbooks.

    This was such an interesting topic and not something that I think about often! Thanks for posting!


  13. You know, people always find it a bit weird when I say that I really, really don’t like reading novels in verse – especially given my background in poetry. I don’t know, I just feel like poetry and novels are such different forms – I haven’t read a verse novel yet that really spoke to me, mostly because they always seem to clash so much. Oh well – I love each of the forms on their own, so I guess that’s good enough, haha 😉


I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post, but please keep all comments G-rated. I reply back to all comments, and if you have a blog, I might even check it out!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s