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Fiction Literary

This Poem Is a House

by (author) Ken Sparling

Coach House Books
Initial publish date
Apr 2016
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2016
    List Price

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If love is a house, how do we arrange the furniture?

Meditative and magical, a book as complicated as the ways we love, This Poem Is a House is, in the end, about a girl’s story sheltering a boy’s poem, the way a house shelters the lives of the people who live in it.

‘Discovering Ken Sparling's work changed everything I knew about writing. It made me realize that a novel could and should be just that – novel, that that was the point of writing, of life. Reading his work felt like permission to be myself the way that he was his self. Reading Ken Sparling reminds you that you're free.’ – Jonathan Goldstein

About the author

Contributor Notes

Ken Sparling is the author of six novels: Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall, commissioned by Gordon Lish; Hush Up and Listen Stinky Poo Butt, handmade using discarded library books and a sewing machine; a novel with no title; For Those Whom God Has Blessed with Fingers ; Book, which was shortlisted for the Trillium Award; and Intention | Implication | Wind . He lives in Toronto, where he works in a marketing role with the city's public library system.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall:

Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall rips the veil off our most private thoughts and gives voice to the feelings we spend most of our lives trying to repress or just plain ignore. With economy, tenderness, and great humor, Sparling not only lays to waste our notions about what a novel can be, but also what being in the world can be. This is a brutal book."

- Jonathan Goldstein

"Ken Sparling's 1996 classic might have been outof print for almost a decade and a half, but its virtuosities have hardly been forgotten and have hardly gone unloved to death. What a joy it is, though, to see this piercingly funny, nervous, and thrillingly sad novel-in-fragments available at last for a new generation of readers to discover its loopy domestic lyricism of the shifting lonelinesses and companionate spells at the heart of contemporary marriage. I envy anyone reading Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall for the first time."

- GaryLutz

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