Booktalk: Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams

Glimpse cover

I’ve been an admirer of Carol Lynch Williams’ work for quite a few years now.  I’m especially a fan of her novels My Angelica, Carolina Autumn, If I Forget, You Remember, The True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson, and The Chosen OneGlimpse is an atypical example of her work, since this is a poem-format novel.  That being said, even in her usual prose novels her writing has a beautiful and lyrical quality that is well-suited to the poetic form.

I enjoy booktalking poem-format novels because it makes my job a little easier.  It’s the one time I’ll let myself read out loud from the book, which means I don’t have to memorize quite as much as usual.  I will say that whenever I create a booktalk for a poem-format novel I usually mark off two or three poems (in this book I originally marked the poems on page 1 and page 35), but as time goes on I usually end up selecting just one poem to share with the class.

Remember that one of the most effective aspects of a booktalk is the eye contact you have with your audience, so even if you’re reading aloud from a book you should be familiar enough with what you’re going to read that you can look up at your audience at the end of each sentence.


Hope and Lizzie are sisters who are just one year apart.  They’ve been close for many years, but one day when Hope comes in and sees her sister Lizzie holding a shotgun, she realizes that their lives are very different now, and that Lizzie has been keeping secrets.  After Lizzie is taken away from the family, Hope is left behind with their mother and with a lot of questions.  Like … why was Lizzie so quiet and depressed lately?  What secrets was she keeping?  And why would she want to kill herself?  This novel is written as a series of poems, and I’m going to share the first poem of this book with you so you can hear part of this story in Hope’s own voice.

In one moment
it is over.
In one moment
it is gone.
The morning grows
thin, gray

and our lives —
how they were —
have vanished.
Our lives have

when I walk
in on Lizzie
my sister
holding a shotgun.

She fingers the

Looks up.
My sister.
My sister just looks
up at me.

the trigger

of that gun.

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