By (author): Kevin Spenst

A finalist for the&nbspAlfred G. Bailey Prize,&nbspIgnite&nbspis a collection of elegiac and experimental poetry powder-kegged with questions about one man’s lifelong struggle with schizophrenia. Born into a strict Mennonite family, Abe Spenst’s mental illness spanned three decades in and out of mental institutions where he underwent electric shock treatment and coma-induced insulin therapy. Merging memory and medical records, Kevin Spenst recreates his father’s life through a cuckoo’s nest of styles that both stand as witness and waltz to the interplay between memory, emotion and all our forms of becoming.

Praise for Ignite:

“… with a fearless layering of voice,&nbspIgnite&nbspis upfront and unswerving. A novel-esque torrent tracing a troubling history of illness, part confrontation and part chronicle, this collection is daring with its dark narrative. Here is a willingness for, and enviable strength in, extending poetic range.&nbspIgnite&nbspheals and ascends. There are books that need to be written and this is one of them. This is a collection which gives more and more with every read.”&nbsp(Sandra Ridley, judge, Alfred G. Bailey prize)

“An outstanding follow-up to Spenst’s excellent first collection. (Winnipeg Free Press)”

A selection of poems from Ignite won the Lush Triumphant Award for Poetry.


Kevin Spenst

In addition to the UK, the United States, Austria and India, Kevin Spenst’s poetry has appeared in over a dozen Canadian literary publications. In April and May of 2014 Kevin Spenst did a 100-venue reading tour of Canada in support of small poetry presses with his chapbooks Pray Goodbye (the Alfred Gustav Press, 2013), Retractable (the serif of nottingham, 2013), Happy Hollow and the Surrey Suite (self-published, 2012), What the Frag Meant (100 têtes press, 2014) and Surrey Sonnets (JackPine Press, 2014).


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96 Pages
8.05in * 8.76in * .26in


April 20, 2016



Book Subjects:

POETRY / Canadian

Featured In:

Books on Mental Health



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