By Kevin Spenst
A finalist for the Alfred G. Bailey Prize and winner of the Lush Triumphant Award for Poetry, Ignite is 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.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR IGNITE:
. . . with a fearless layering of voice, Ignite is 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. Ignite heals 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.
– Sandra Ridley (judge for the Alfred G. Bailey prize)
Cover art by Jason McLean
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.