This collection of poems, each told from the perspective of Joan of Arc and the people and objects central to her life, creates a remarkable portrait of a person whose legend continues to fascinate. The narrative begins from Joan’s perspective as she stands bound to the pyre, awaiting her death: “And I will burn. But I have always/ been afire. With youth. With faith. With/ truth. And with desire.” Employing poetic forms prevalent during Joan’s era—ballades, rondels, sestinas, and villanelles among them—Elliott (Bull) builds the story of her visions and mission “to lift the siege at Orléans,” reactions to her wearing men’s clothing (“I was, they said, an/ aberration”), and sentencing. Concrete poems voiced by inanimate objects—candle, needle, sword, tunic, fire—reflect their speakers’ physical shapes. Also included are the voices of Joan’s accusers and defenders in direct quotes from the transcripts of her two trials: the first, in 1431, which found her guilty of heresy, and the second, which revoked that verdict more than two decades after her death. With stunning lyricism, these poems fashion an enlivened, gripping narrative that addresses themes of gender identity, class and vocation, and innocence and culpability, bringing fresh nuance to an oft-told story. Ages 14–up. (Mar.)
A Finalist for the American Library in Paris Book Award "Stunning . . . . elegant . . . . arresting . . . . supple and harrowing.” —The Wall Street Journal ★ "Elliot delivers another hit. . . . [Voices] showcases a gorgeous storytelling style that flows in an effortless fashion. . . . A glorious tribute to a woman who dared, defied, and defended her truth. A must-have."—School Library Journal, STARRED review ★ “Ethereal, wondering, and poignant. . . . An innovative, entrancing account of a popular figure that will appeal to fans of verse, history, and biography.”—Kirkus, STARRED review ★ "With stunning lyricism, these poems fashion an enlivened, gripping narrative that addresses themes of gender identity, class and vocation, and innocence and culpability, bringing fresh nuance to an oft-told story."—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review ★ "Joan’s thoughts are almost conversational, in simple left-justified verse with rhyme skillfully embedded within lines. . . . [A] creative historical account of a young woman who answered a norm-shattering higher call." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, STARRED review "An elegant, spirited introduction to classical poetry and to a woman fighting not just for a cause but for a place in a world that undervalued her voice."—BooklistEarly praise for Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc: "A stunning and innovative reimagining of the life and death of one of history's most badass ladies. Captivating from start to finish and unlike anything I've ever read." —Mackenzi Lee, New York Times best-selling author of The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue “By giving Joan of Arc voice, Elliott manages to give her agency and makes her passion, faith, and determination live and breathe on the page. Compelling, engaging, and triumphant, Joan the maiden warrior shines far brighter than her fiery fate.” —Robin LaFevers, New York Times best-selling author of Courting Darkness and the His Fair Assassin trilogy “Elliott enchants. Voices will draw a new generation to the mystery of the peasant girl whose conviction and audacity shattered all conceptions of class and gender.” —Kirsten Cappy, Children’s Book Consultant, Curious City “Elliott’s exquisite detail and imagery lift this tale of female valor into an almost mystical dimension.” —Pat Lowery Collins, author of The Fattening Hut and Hidden Voices, The Orphan Musicians of Venice “The implicit call-to-action in Elliott’s tender but searing novel-in-verse is perhaps the clearest voice of all: the fire within each of us can be an unstoppable force for change in a world that continually seeks to burn what it cannot control.” —Amy Cherrix, Malaprop’s Bookstore “This book is a marvel. Each poem is so pure, so intense, so full of story-moving energy that I couldn’t put it down and read the whole book in a gulp. I loved it.” —N. Griffin, author of The Whole Stupid Way We Are “A clever and searing page-turner story told by a master.” —Patricia Hruby Powell, author of Loving Vs. Virginia and Josephine
★ Winter 2018
Gr 8 Up—A prominent figure of the Hundred Years' War, Joan of Arc dually stands out in history as a leader of the French army and a woman scorned for her "unseemly" deeds. From receiving visions of Saints at 13, to leading the Dauphin's army at 16, to death by burning at 19, Joan's story is swift yet deftly packed with captivating moments of 15th-century France. Although her life ends in flames, there is much more to glean from her final hours than ever before imagined. Elliot delivers another hit (following Bull) with a bold and unapologetic heroine whose voice springs to life through her fervor for God and country. Filled with various (medieval and modern) poetic forms, Elliot's novel in verse not only revitalizes the tale of the Maid of Orléans but showcases a gorgeous storytelling style that flows in an effortless fashion. The ingenuity in utilizing people, objects, and concepts affiliated with Joan to aid narration enhances the novel. Snippets of the Trial of Condemnation and Nullification are interspersed throughout, staging events perfectly as Joan recounts her life. Author's notes bookend the work, providing context and enrichment to the medieval setting. VERDICT A glorious tribute to a woman who dared, defied, and defended her truth. A must-have.—Emily Walker, Lisle Library District, IL
A multivoiced verse retelling of the last day of Joan of Arc's life.
Interspersed with snippets from the transcripts of the Trial of Condemnation and Trial of Nullification are monologues in verse from the individuals surrounding Joan, in actuality or in memory, on the last day of her life. The expected characters are there—Charles VII, her mother, the saints who guided her—but also other, unexpected, choices—the fire, the arrowhead that pierced her shoulder, her hair, her virginity. The title cleverly alludes to both the voices that guided Joan and the cacophony of voices in the book, all of whom take various forms that heighten their individual personality. There is concrete poetry as well as poetic forms popular during and after Joan's time: the villanelle, the sestina, the rondeau, and the ballade. Joan herself is ethereal, wondering, and poignant. The conceit works; the variety of voices and compelling verse bring the story to life and heighten the pathos of Joan's death. Among her last words: "…the penetrating / pain will be my ecstasy in / knowing I was true; there is nothing / I have done that I would alter / or undo." Compelling for pleasure reading, this will also be a valuable addition to language arts lessons.
An innovative, entrancing account of a popular figure that will appeal to fans of verse, history, and biography. (preface, map, author's note, list of poetic forms) (Historical verse novel. 13-adult)