Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc
Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc

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Annotation: Explores how Joan of Arc changed the course of history and remains a figure of fascination centuries after her extraordinary life and death in a fiery, evocative novel-in-verse.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #181985
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Llewelyn, Cara,
Pages: 195 pages
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-328-98759-0 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-4349-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-328-98759-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-4349-5
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2018025855
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
As in Bull (2017), Elliott employs numerous poetic forms and a full cast to bring to life an old story. This time Joan of Arc commands the narrative. As she awaits her execution, Joan recounts her story in candid, musical verse, remembering the life she abandoned when she heard God calling her to lead an army into war for a country that eventually turned on her. Joan's words are woven through with a quick internal rhyme that underscores her strength and cleverness. Interspersed are testimonies not only from people but also objects (her sword, her armor), the saints themselves, and even concepts (victory, virginity). In an ending note, Elliott explains the poetic forms he used, many of which were popular during Joan's time. The object poems are given concrete form on the page: the fire that takes Joan's life builds and consumes itself throughout the book. 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.
Publishers Weekly
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.)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
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)
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Lexile: 900L

The Candle

it as if it were
yesterday. She was
so lovely and young. In
her hand I darted and flick-
ered away, an ardent lover's ad-
venturing tongue. I had never known
such yearning, exciting and risky and
cruel. As we walked to the church, I was
burning; she was my darling, my future,
my fuel. I wanted to set her afire right then.
But she was so pure, so chaste; her innocence
only increased my desire. Still, I know the
dangers of haste. So I watched and I studied
and waited, and I saw that her young blood
ran hot. She had no idea we were fated. I
could name what she craved; she could
not. Then in her eye, I caught my
reflection. In her eye, I saw my-
self shine, and I saw the heat
rise on her virgin's com-
plexion. That's when
I knew: She was


I've heard it said that when we die
the soul discards its useless shell,
and our life will flash before our
eyes. Is this a gift from Heaven?
Or a jinx from deepest Hell? Only
the dying know, but what the dying
know the dying do not tell. What
more the dying know it seems I
am about to learn. For when the
sun is at its highest, a lusting torch
will touch the pyre. The flames will rise.
And I will burn. But I have always
been afire. With youth. With faith. With
truth. And with desire. My name is
Joan, but I am called the Maid. My
hands are bound behind me. The fire
beneath me laid.


I yearn I yearn I yearn my darling
I yearn I yearn I yearn

Excerpted from Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Bestselling author David Elliott explores how Joan of Arc changed the course of history and remains a figure of fascination centuries after her extraordinary life and death. Joan of Arc gets the Hamilton treatment in this evocative novel. Told through medieval poetic forms and in the voices of the people and objects in Joan of Arc's life, (including her family and even the trees, clothes, cows, and candles of her childhood), Voices offers an unforgettable perspective on an extraordinary young woman. Along the way it explores timely issues such as gender, misogyny, and the peril of speaking truth to power. Before Joan of Arc became a saint, she was a girl inspired. It is that girl we come to know in Voices .

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