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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.

KarenHesse_OutOfTheDust

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!

v_stone_a_bad_boy_can_be_good_usIn 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. 

To read some of my poems from my verse-novel-in-progress, see Yarn Review and The Quarry Journal.

 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.”

My "office" for three months. Blutenburg Castle, the home of the Internationale Jugendbibliothek.

My “office” for three months. Blutenburg Castle, the home of the Internationale Jugendbibliothek.

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!