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Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse by Valerie Nieman

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Essentially a biographical novel written as a series of poems, this book tells the story of a mixed-race Appalachian orphan who runs away to join a carnival. She works as a dancer and fortune teller. When she acquires vitiligo, she serves the carnival as a “freak,” thus the book title, Leopard Lady.  “The Leopard Lady, as she says, is ‘half one thing and half another,’ and so is her book: poetry and story, mystery and earth, told in two parts and two voices--but all one remarkable thing you may want to read in one sitting.” --Sarah Lindsay. Valerie Nieman graduated from West Virginia University in journalism and earned an MFA at Queens in Charlotte. She has published widely in the novel and story as well as poetry. She now teaches creative writing at North Carolina A & T University.

Winston-Salem. North Carolina: Press 53, 2018. 81 pages. Trade paperback