The Poetry: Jensen divides her verse novel into four seasons, following Mira through "fall," "winter," "spring," and "summer" of her final year in high school. The poems utilize free verse, and the author occasionally makes use of shaped or concrete poetry. The poems are mostly told in fragmented, end-stopped phrases which gives the verse novel a jarring quality, and at times makes it difficult to read. This is clear from the first poem in the narrative "Piloting":
I have everything I need.
My bag. My key.
The security man knows my name,
lets me in.
Soon the school with be full;
for now, quiet, empty (3).Just like these first few lines of the verse novel, the poetry throughout the collection falls flat. The author seems to rely very little on sound and music, and the images presented are mostly mundane. Jensen attempts to use the yearbook theme Mira chooses (outer space) as a metaphor for Mira's experiences and feelings of isolation, but again this metaphor becomes a missed opportunity for the author to inject lyricism and vivid imagery into her poetry.
The Page: Like many other verse novels, especially those that focus less on the music, imagery, and/or sound and more on narrative, Jensen's work attempts to make use of space (literal page space, as well as the metaphor of outer space). These attempts ultimately miss the mark for me as a reader.
I give Jensen's Skyscraping two stars.