scribbled on a serviette
or in a tattered notebook
become a story through their crafting.
This week, Steven Herrick shared his observations, transformed into poems, with students at school – in a time of performance art and great merriment. He explained the ways in which his ideas come together, from simple beginnings, daily events and everyday life, while the audience hung on his every word and action. (Thanks for your visit, Steven.)
‘Another Night in Mullet Town’ is also like that. In his typical form of verse novel*, Herrick portrays the life of friends, Manx and Jonah, as they move through days of school, and nights with friends, in a lakeside town facing change. As Manx bemoans:
People like you and me, Jonah,
we drag down the price of everything we touch.
Conflict exists in several predictable but realistic forms – between male student rivals, between rich and poor, and between the locals and new residents aiming to develop the town for ‘bigger and better things’. Friendships and evolving love interests are also handled genuinely and delicately, as are the sometimes strained relationships of Jonah’s parents, and thus, his family situation.
In simple but succinct language, Herrick wastes no words at all – and in his usual finely-honed manner, so this should appeal to many teens. Australian teens, in particular, will enjoy visiting the coastal town he depicts, acknowledge the school situations he describes and may even stop to ponder some of the community and family issues ‘Another Night in Mullet Town’ presents.
And, once you enjoy ‘Another night…’, there are many other award-winning verse novels from Herrick to read – ‘Love Ghosts and Nose Hair’, ‘A Simple Gift’ and more.
For a taste of Herrick’s poetry performance, watch ’10 things your parents will never say’:
*A verse novel is a type of narrative poetry in which a novel-length narrative is told through the medium of poetry rather than prose.