The Poetry: Donwerth-Chikamatsu's Somewhere Among is presented in free verse, and many of the poems make excellent use of space, rhyme, metaphor, and lyricism to communicate the overwhelming sense of sorrow that emanates from the various tragedies and events explored in the narrative. For example, the poem "After the Storm" depicts Ema's family emerging from the silence of their home after a typhoon by sliding open the shutters and turning on the news:
I look at Mom,
not enjoying the night air
one cricket here
one cricket there.
a news flash
the whole neighborhood gasps. (206-7).In this poem, the author makes use of the space on the page in order to emphasize the silence and to encourage the reader to engage in the same meditation the protagonist experiences as she enjoys "the moon and the stars" and "the sparkly air after a typhoon" (206). Additionally, the use of both rhyme and slant rhyme in the final five lines of the poem adds emphasis through language and sound, and furthermore, brings a subtlety to the description of this well-known historical event. The verse novel also made several nods toward other poets and popular musicians such as Emily Dickinson and The Beatles.
The Page: Somewhere Among is divided into seven sections, each representing a month from June to December, ranging in length from 35 to 100+ pages. Each section's front page also includes a black and white illustration. At 439 pages, the verse novel spent a lot of time exploring the experiences of Ema. The early poems and the narrative moved pretty slowly, and it seemed the author could have edited the collection down a bit. Overall I found Somewhere Among to be a fine verse novel. I give it three stars.