The first young adult verse-novel I read was Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust. My mother had bought it for me, and I remember curling crinkles into the pages as I read about fourteen-year-old Billy Jo and her gritty, dust-covered life during the dust bowl in the 1930s. I just loved the sounds and rhythms of the free verse language, and the white gaps of space that opened up on each page.
After reading Out of the Dust, I was hooked on young adult verse-novels. I read Virginia Euwer Wolff’s Make Lemonade, Sonya Sones’s Stop Pretending, Steven Herrick’s A Place Like This, Ellen Hopkins’ Crank, and Helen Frost’s Keesha’s House. When I decided that I wanted to get my PhD in creative writing, it was an easy decision to focus my research on the verse-novel for children and young adults!
In 2015, I was awarded my PhD in creative writing from Macquarie University. My PhD project consisted of a 50,000-word exegesis exploring the dynamic relationship between poetry and narrative in verse-novels, and a young adult verse-novel, Homing Poems.
My peer-reviewed interview with verse-novelists Helen Frost, Steven Herrick, and Ron Koertge was published in Axon Journal: “Writing the Young Adult Verse Novel: An Interview with Three Authors.”
In 2012, I was granted a prestigious fellowship at the Internationale Jugendbibliothek (International Youth Library) in Münich, Germany to research verse-novels and children’s poetry collections. Wie wunderbar!