Friday, February 13, 2009

Genre Talk: Povel

What on earth is a povel?

According to Wikipedia, a "povel," also known as a verse novel or novel in poetry is "a type of narrative poetry in which a novel-length narrative is told through the medium of poetry rather than prose." (

Povels are most commonly associated with Young Adult novels, but there are some verse novels for adults as well. Most povels are written in free-verse poetry, but some include poetry in forms as well.

The challenges of writing a povel:

There are many challenges when one decides to write a povel. First of all, the author must be comfortable enough with both poetry and fiction writing. The povel must use them both effectively, without sacrificing their functions. The poems tend to be short and precise, both telling a story and using poetic techniques. Some povels alternate poems between two or more points of view, so the author needs to be able to get inside the minds of many characters. A good organization system is key, so that the author knows whose poems should be placed where within the manuscript.

Some popular povels include:

Out of the Dust by Karen Hess
What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sonyes
Keesha's House by Helen Frost
Autobiography of Red by Ann Carson
Frenchtown Summer by Robert Cormier
Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Thanks for the povel information!

I really enjoyed "Out of the Dust," but that is the only povel I've read.