House of Weeds, by Amy Charlotte Kean

Summary: what weeds teach us about the human condition

I don’t read as much poetry as I used to, but I loved this book.

As its title suggests it takes its starting point from things we may often overlook or take for granted, but in these things Amy Charlotte Kean finds insights to the human condition, and indeed the universe, that “glitter like C-beams in the dark”.

Reflecting on the White Deadnettle, for example, Kean observes, “They/ sting/ because/ like an evil stepmother/ they flourish/ thru the elaborate dismantling of/ innocence.” Or her ruminations on life prompted by the Stag’s Horn Sumach: “The secret is to worship the poets/ Quote the philosophers, thank the men/ And don’t dare, even once, act normal.”

The book is beautifully illustrated by Jack Wallington, but it is Kean’s poetry that unsettles and stirs the soul.

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