“I landed on the lower branch,
a silent witness…
Breath came again.
His eyes opened
and met mine.
When a book like this one comes along it needs more thought than others. This novel written in verse, and touted as a “young adult” title, is a first book for Dana Walrath. Set during the persecution of Christians during the Ottoman Empire, the reader is given three distinct perspectives – a brother and sister fleeing violence, and that of an eagle who is their witness from above.
Writing such as this demands to be read aloud. A Kirkus review notes, “The verse is often powerful, especially in its use of repetition, but it does not provide the author with much textual opportunity to fully explain the nature of the ethnic and religious conflict.” The understanding comes from giving it voice – literally. William Braithwaite, a tutor at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, presents a one minute, but important presentation called “What is the sound of authenticity in speech?” He states that “reading would become authentic if the poem sounds like it, if the poem were alive.” Not all understanding is linear and concrete. Voice is the path for understanding which sometimes does not come from only the intellect, but from complete engagement with the prose.
Braithwaite, William. “St. John’s Menu.” William Braithwaite’s “On Reading Poetry Aloud” Annapolis Lecture. St. John’s College, 3 July 2014. Web. 21 Dec. 2014. .
“LIKE WATER ON STONE by Dana Walrath | Kirkus.” Book Reviews. Kirkus Reviews, 11 Nov. 2014. Web. 21 Dec. 2014. .
Walrath, Dana. Like Water on Stone. New York: Delacorte, 2014. Print.