South Sudanese American rapper OD Bonny opened our launch event for The Good Braider on a blustery night in Maine. Then he stunned us with a new song he has written to tell the story of Viola, the heroine of the novel. OD is still working on the song and is creating a book trailer with scenes from Juba and Portland. Here’s a sneak preview of OD singing A Girl From Juba.The cover song of his new album, Kwo I Lobo Tek stays in my mind. The Portland Phoenix called it “an infectious pop-hip-hop carousel ride.” “Kwo I Lobo Tek” is Acholi, meaning roughly, life is a hard journey. But the song feels like hope.
Jeannine Atkins’ poems that recreate the lives of people in history are a part of “Braiding the Verse Novel.” These are a series of interviews I did with writers of novels – and this biography – in verse. I’ve written articles about verse novels that draw on these conversations in different ways.
and memories jammed behind may unroll like thread off a spool.
The section in Borrowed Names about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose, chronicles tension between a very capable mother and a daughter who rarely felt she could live up to her mother’s expectations. This is somewhat resolved when Laura is about sixty, and Rose about forty, and they work together on the series of Little House books. Laura provides the history, while Rose did much of the shaping and editing, a collaboration that made me think of quilting and sewing, crafts important to both women, and is suggested by the thread here. The line reinforces the theme of the way memories can separate, heal, and change, and is spoken by a voice that’s neither Laura’s nor Rose’s, suggesting how they bond as they write, becoming more than mother and daughter.”