For the five books I’m reading for my verse novel challenge, I’ll not post reviews. Instead, I’ll leave you with a feel for the work itself.
LUDIE’S LIFE, Cynthia Rylant (Harcourt, 2006)
From the dust jacket:
Cynthia Rylant returns to her home state of West Viriginia with this evocative collection of poems. In a powerful narrative that flows like a novel, we follow Ludie from childhood to falling in love and getting married, through the birth of her own children, and on into old age.
This is the story of one woman’s experiences in a hardscrabble coal-mining town, a story that brims with the universal themes of life, love, and family — and all the joy, laughter, heartache, and loss that accompany them.
A peek inside:
Life was precarious.
But Ludie was happy.
Still pretty, in her loose cotton dresses,
soft long hair,
she knew who she was.
And she had this sense
that this was beautiful,
this place and time.
She loved wash day because she could be outside,
a reason to be outside,
the smell of maple leaves and honeysuckle in the air,
a blue sky,
the freshness of soap,
and the satisfaction of crisp hot shirts on the line.
She was not trapped here.
She was not lost.
And did she ever wish to be someone else,
a woman in furs in New York City,
or, closer to home,
the mine owner’s wife?
She knew who she was.
the babies, the washing,
waiting up for Rupe until two in the morning.
No, she never wanted anything but this.
She woke up every day
and never wondered
what she’d find to do with herself,
why she’d been born in the first place,
did not lie in bed
and fret about the life she should have been living
instead of this one.
She would grow older
and her children and grandchildren
would try on this job and that one,
this wife and that one,
a different town,
a different country,
never really sure about who they were
and what they were meant for.
But until she was ninety,
sitting on a porch and no one stopping by,
Ludie would never doubt that
she was worthy of life,
For those of you interested, here are some recent interviews:
by Kristi Faith at Random Acts of Writing
by S.A. Larsen at Writers’ Ally
Creepy Query Girl says
Thanks for posting this excerpt. Until now, I’ve had very little experience with verse novels and this is actually the first excerpt I’ve seen from one! I like what I’m seeing, though:)
Caroline Starr Rose says
Glad to hear it! I thought it best to let the writing speak for itself.
Karen Amanda Hooper says
Nice. Thanks for sharing.
I love Lisa Schroeder’s verse novel writing. You should definitely check her out.
Natalie Aguirre says
Thanks for sharing this.
I <3 verse. This is beautiful:)
Shannon O'Donnell says
I love Cynthia Rylant. This looks great – I haven’t read it yet! 🙂
Jemi Fraser says
It’s a neat concept and a tough one to pull off in a society where few people read poetry unless it’s for school. Nice!
Sharon K. Mayhew says
Cynthia Rylant is my absolute favorite! Thanks for sharing this snippet…
Elana Johnson says
I want to read the five you’re reading. What are they? The only one I know of is Chasing Brooklyn and I have it on hold at the library. I’ll add this one. What else should I read? (Since I have to wait for yours to come out!)