Twenty-One Novel Poems

Suzette Haden Elgin

Topics & Questions for Discussion

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1. Elgin claims that each of the poems in this book could have been written as a novel or as a short story. Does that seem plausible to you? Does it seem to you that the poems contain enough material to make it possible to expand them to the length of a short story or novel? If so, how do you think that the "condensation" is done? Can you point to an example of a sequence in any of the poems that provides a substantial amount of information in very few words?

2. What would you identify as differences between science fiction narrative poems like those in this book and narrative poems in mainstream poetry?

3. How do you feel about being able to see earlier drafts of some of the poems -- and discussions of those earlier drafts, discussions in which you can participate if you like -- at Elgin's blog? Does that seem useful to you? Is it interesting? Elgin says that her goal was to add an interactive quality to the book; do you think that's a worthy goal?

Twenty-One Novel Poems Index