To solve my ongoing problems of not knowing what to do with this summer vacation and not having the will to keep writing, I’ve decided to give myself a goal:

On June 30, I will have completed a novel(la)-in-verse.

Last semester I took a literature course on contemporary book-length poems and lyric sequences – with the always-amazing Peter Jay Shippy – and it really inspired me. I loved Matthea Harvey’s Robo-Boy sequence in Modern Life, Joe Wenderoth’s twisted trips to Wendy’s in Letters to Wendy’s, and Anne Carson’s stunning Autobiography of Red. And it’s amazing how powerful the form alone is; simply adding line breaks to prose in Toby Barlow’s Sharp Teeth seemed to give the story its life.

These four were my favorites from the course, and I’m curious to see which style will influence my poem the most. If I had to guess, I’d say Carson. We’ll see.

I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to write, but I’ll probably end up in the style I used in the poems up at The Battered Suitcase and forthcoming in PANK‘s October issue. This mostly means lots of mashed words, ampersands, em dashes, and quick images. I expect it will be between 25 and 40 pages and that it will read rapidly (which of course means it will be agonizing to write).

And that’s my fear: that I’ll give up before finishing. I need motivation! So, if you’d like a copy of the finished manuscript (to be mailed promptly on July 1), let me know. I’ll just ask that you send it back with comments and suggestions, so I can edit it and maybe (maybe!) send it out for publication. Does anyone print these things?

Can I do it? Let’s find out!

For inspiration, the new Scissor Sisters single:

I can’t get it out of my head.


5 thoughts on “Novel(la)-in-Verse

  1. I love Autobiography of Red. I’m not as familiar with the others you mentioned, but I would recommend Selah Saterstrom’s THE PINK INSTITUTION and Kate Bernheimer’s THE COMPLETE TALES OF MERRY GOLD, as well as THE COMPLETE TALES OF KETZIA GOLD, and her forthcoming THE COMPLETE TALES OF LUCY GOLD.

    There is also Carole Mason’s AVA.

    These are the ones that speak to me most, on the same level of RED.

    I would be interested in reading/commenting.

    And you must know of Mud Luscious, right? (la)

  2. Thanks, Molly. Did Tim tell you about this?

    And yes, I lifted the (la) from Mud Luscious. I didn’t want to commit to a certain length and that seemed to be the easiest fix.

  3. Tim did, yes. 🙂

    There’s also The Seattle Review; see the post about that on Big Other, which just went up this morning. 🙂

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