Contemporary Canadian Literature with a Distinctly Urban Twist

Anvil Press

Hearts Amok

Hearts Amok

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In language that twists together hobo slang and flights of troubadourish diction, Hearts Amok scrutinizes the history of the love sonnet in Surrey, England and simultaneously celebrates the tickings and tollings of one love-struck heart in Surrey, British Columbia. Examining the underpinnings of love, this book journeys from the Middle Ages to the present where Spenst dates his way through Vancouver to finally find the love of his life.

Advance Praise for Hearts Amok:

“Kevin Spenst’s Hearts Amok will shake you to your core. Everyday questions of love are earned, won, lost and then ultimately answered through the whirlwind of constantly spinning verse. Spenst uses the ‘moments between moments’ to wrap tongues around his own heart—and his city. With this hybrid memoir bathed in sonnet-esque waves, you are shipwrecked and soon realize that ‘only when love pretends to be voiceless are they telling the truth.’ And these dense truths are like ‘a million lifetimes of love’ boiled, condensed, written on a sugar packet, stuffed into an antique glass bottle and tossed out to sea.”
                        —Chelene Knight author of Dear Current Occupant

“Kevin Spenst is a literary hobo and court jester par excellence. Performing intricate feats of linguistic acrobatics and tender peaens to love, he concurrently pays tribute to a myriad of his literary influences while creating fresh subversions of known and beloved poetic language. Hearts Amok is a wild and wonderful feast for the mind, heart and spirit.”
                        — Lydia Kwa, author of Oracle Bone and sinuous


  • Publication: May 2018
  • ISBN: 978-1-77214-149-8
  • Pages: 128 pages
  • Size: 5 x 8 inches

Kevin Spenst, a Pushcart Prize nominee, is the author of Ignite, Jabbering with Bing Bong (both Anvil Press), and over a dozen chapbooks including Pray Goodbye (Alfred Gustav Press), Ward Notes (serif of nottingham), Flip Flop Faces and Unexpurgated Lives (JackPine Press), and most recently Upend (Frog Hollow Press: Dis/Ability series). His work has won the Lush Triumphant Award for Poetry, been nominated for both the Alfred G. Bailey Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and has appeared in dozens of publications including Prairie Fire, CV2, BafterC, Lemon Hound, Poetry is Dead, and the anthology Best Canadian Poetry 2014. He lives on unceded Coast Salish territory (Vancouver) with the love of his life Shauna Kaendo.

Books by Kevin Spenst