The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 28, 2008

Helen Frost On "Freedom In Form"

Keesha And now for something new to the blog: a post written by one of our children's authors, poet Helen Frost (who is published by FSG's books for young readers).

Frost began her poetry career with a book of poems for adults, but her more recent collections are all for young readers: Keesha's House, The Braid, and her new book, Diamond Willow. She excels at writing novels in verse, and I thought it might be interesting to hear how she interacts with this form, one that recalls the days of epic poetry.

Here is the first part of her post. Keesha's House, which she refers to here, was a 2004 Printz Honor winner. 

"I’ve always found freedom in form—my first book, for adults, includes a sestina, a villanelle, a crown of sonnets—so it was natural for me to work in form when I started writing poetry for young readers. Keesha’s House began as a series of sestinas in the voices of teenagers, and developed into a novel in a very architectural way. The sestina form was perfectly appropriate for teen voices, the sonnet form better suited for adult voices; then as I 'built the rooms' of the novel, I saw how these two forms supported each other in intriguing ways."

--Helen Frost

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