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Inquiry

(Anonymous)
Dear Sir:

Are you Professor John Lennard? I just read your article "Chapters in Verse" and wished to thank you for it and let you know of another verse novel:

http://dustbowlpoetry.wordpress.com

Thank you,

Shelley

Dear Shelley Shaver,

Guilty as charged. I don't conceal my RL identity particularly, but I'd be interested to know how you tracked me to here!

Thanks for the link to your verse novel, which looks interesting. I confess I didn't search the web especially for the table of verse novels in the article -- there were so many print ones I had to fight to get it included at all -- but I'm delighted to know about yours, and if you know of any others that are posted rather than printed, do please let me know. I have very little opportunity to teach verse novels, but I live in hope.

As you may have gathered (depending on how you were accessing 'Chapters in Verse') the article is in effect a small, compressed section chopped from my introduction to my annotated edition of Ralph Thompson's View from Mount Diablo, which is available as a PDF from Humanities-Ebooks; there are also Kindle and deadtree editions (but I'd recommend the PDF -- reflowable formats are not good for annotations!). Though at 1,048 lines it's more of a verse novella than novel it packs a mighty punch ("Fog stuck its tongue / in the socket of the sun, short-circuiting the light." ; "Drugs // dealing more s s simple than faith if you play by the rules."), and I do commend it. Thompson isn't much known outside Jamaica, but he should be.

In any case, my point was that the article is only a little of what I was saying about verse novels. Much of my introduction is of course directly concerned with View from Mount Diablo, but there is a fair chunk concerning the history and versification of the form that you may find interesting. I was under some pressure to make it more specifically Jamaican (though there is plenty of that), but I wanted to locate Thompson in a long tradition, and to insist (as in the article) on the widespread recent upsurge in the form.

Thanks again for the link, and for getting in touch -- one of the boons of the internet.

Ever,

B'Jack / John L.

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