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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:

Thank you,


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.


B'Jack / John L.

Forward Momentum reviews

I've just posted two reviews for "Forward Momentum," Chapters 15 & 16, in FanFiction>Miles Vorkosigan. Yours, Luminator Thelms (author of "Starbow's End" in same)

Re: Forward Momentum reviews

So I saw, thanks, Luminator, and I'm delighted you enjoyed FM. It's also posted at AO3 (where I'm also Bracketyjack), and is downloadable if you were wanting to read offline.

As to Fletchir and cousin, well, he and Gregor had to call one another something, and for either side deferring to the other was going to be a political problem even if Fletchir and/or Gregor were willing, so I thought some imperial cousin-ing would split the difference acceptably for all.

If you carry on through the tail-pieces to FM (also most neatly available at AO3 -- go to FM and click on the series tag 'The Peaceful Vorkosiverse') I'll be interested to see what you make of them.

Thanks again.

Verse Novels

Just read the post on verse novels. Have you heard of, I think it's called, "Golden Gate"? I can't recall the author, but it's definitely a novel about several days in the life of a resident of San Francisco, California, writ entirely in sonnets.
Luminator Thelms, AKA Mad Librarian #9 (

Yup -- Vikram Seth, The Golden Gate. And hoping that as a madlibrarian you don't mind some nitpicking, it's not actually in sonnets but in Onegin stanzas, 14 lines of iambic tetrameter (rather than pentameter) rhyming ABABCCDDEFFEGG, with the A, C, & E rhymes unstressed (feminine) and the B, D, F, & G rhymes stressed (masculine) -- the whole invented by Pushkin for his verse novel Eugene Onegin.

Very funny, too, and highly recommended.

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