#TPQ5: KEVIN SPENST

After We All Died – Allison Cobb

A cyclical patterning that plays through worms, rats, Motley Crue, thinking “of shit as the tenebrous edge between the living and the dead.”

Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry – Jane Hirshfield

While I read tons of poetry, I love keeping an ear out for the bigger arrangements and so I’ve always got a book on poetics or craft on the side. Hirshfield’s is one of my favourites.

The Mean Game – John Wall Barger

Any collection of poetry that opens with an “Urgent Message from the Captain of the Unicorn Hunters” has my loopy heart. When my imagination is on low, I sometimes find myself waking up with my face pointed in the direction of Barger’s book. It refuels!

The Road In is Not the Same Road Out – Karen Solie

Solie’s lines tune you into the cosmic undercurrent that is poetry, drawing together blue jay vocalizations, traumatized food, gunpowder in wine, and the dead.

Admission Requirements – Pheobe Wang

Wang’s book is like a map that doesn’t confuse itself with the territory, but rather dreams through futures and digs through layers of the past. It’s a big, heavy map that you will treasure!


Kevin Spenst is the author of Ignite, Jabbering with Bing Bong (both with Anvil Press), and over a dozen chapbooks including Pray Goodbye (the Alfred Gustav Press), Surrey Sonnets (JackPine Press), and most recently Upend (Frog Hollow Press: Dis/Ability series). In 2020, his third book of poetry will be coming out: Hearts Amok: a Memoir in Verse (Anvil Press). He lives on unceded Coast Salish territory with the love of his life Shauna Kaendo.

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