Catalog Logo


In Beware the House, poet Susanna Rich book-ends a wide-ranging collection of life-story poems between two Gothic, haunted houses, the first a surreal nightmare; the second, the mock-Gothic harpsichord-punctuated world of TV’s The Addams Family. Unease, discomfort, and pain belong between two haunted places (confused birth and sardonic death), and Rich shares deeply personal accounts of her Hungarian-immigrant grandmother, obsessed in old age with Franz Liszt as an imaginary lover; and a disintegrating mother in the throes of dementia. At the center of the book are poems like glass shards of modern living, a keen and concise language palette turning the everyday into the extraordinary. Like a gypsy dance, these poems careen off common experiences — the grandmother’s kitchen, the captive butterfly, a rebellion of trees, the driven car and the rubbernecked accident. And there are villains: the predatory boor repulsed, the unteachable student lesson-taught, the empty soul of the CEO laid bare, the bad president as piñata, the lecherous poetry professor, the restless Dybbuk.

Susanna Rich is a bilingual Hungarian-American, Fulbright Fellow in Creative Writing, and Collegium Budapest Fellow — with roots in Transylvania and family ties to the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Báthory. She is a Distinguished Professor of English Studies at Kean University (NJ). Susanna is also an Emmy Award nominee, and the founding producer and principal performer at Wild Nights Productions, LLC. Her repertoire includes the musical, Shakespeare's *itches: The Women v. Will, and ashes, ashes: A Poet Responds to the Shoah. She is author of three earlier poetry collections, Television Daddy and The Drive Home (Finishing Line Press), both of which are also Wild Nights performances; and Surfing for Jesus (Blast Press).


the round house, like a massive breast
suctioned to a knoll;
like the eyes and skull of a buried giant.

Enter this cyclotron to braille the inner wall,
never to know where you entered
or if you can leave.

Wings are embedded in the broken china floors,
wooden fish gossip in the inverted bowl of air
breathing itself like a sponge.

Nothing meets itself. No right angles
corner spirits. And don’t ask doors to shut
or open in jambs meant not to true.

An orange paper jellyfish hangs,
clitoral, at the center,
to vacuum you into the glass dome.

Sling your quilt over your head
to spiral on Escher stairs —
wander your sleep among distant thumps

and whistling goats.
This mandala is all a basement
and attic, with no between.

Ghosts loll their tongues, thick as boots
ride you like a zebra,
as the calliope plays.


When I am six years old,
Grandmother tells me to
get her stuffed when she dies —
like the front door buck head,
catching webs of evil
between six-point antlers.

The living room, of course,
is where we’re to seat her —
on the sofa (or chair),
behind the piano
where I will play Chopin,
Brahms, Schumann, Beethoven.

And sew her eyes open
(maybe a touch of glass),
looking up to the right —
like sweet Saint Theresa,
clasping her red roses;
or holey Sebastian.

Her hands are to be sheathed —
white lace fingerless gloves —
propped wide for heaven’s bowl;
her lips slightly parted
to show her pearly teeth —
her mouth channeling God.

Never to be alone —
while I shop for perfume
or oil for her skin,
or a bulb for her lamp —
she and the buck will wait
for my timely return.

Times and times my six years,
I bang at my keyboards
— webs worry my eyes, mouth,
my hands, my many pores —
shadow antlers quiver
fingers across my scores.

This is the 239th publication of The Poet's Press. ISBN 9780922558346. 145 pages, 6 x 9 inches, paperback. Published April 2019. $16.95. CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.


Version 24 Updated February 24, 2024.

History of the Press

Book Listings


Joel Allegretti

Leonid Andreyev

Mikhail Artsybashev

Jody Azzouni

Moira Bailis


Robert Carothers

Samuel Croxall

Richard Davidson

Claudia Dikinis

Arthur Erbe


Emilie Glen

Emily Greco

Annette Hayn

Heinrich Heine

Barbara A. Holland

Thomas D. Jones

Michael Katz

Li Yu

Richard Lyman

D.H. Melhem

David Messineo

Th. Metzger

J Rutherford Moss

John Burnett Payne

Edgar Allan Poe



Suzanne Post

Shirley Powell

Burt Rashbaum

Ernst Raupach

Susanna Rich

Brett Rutherford

Boria Sax

Charles Sorley

Vincent Spina

Ludwig Tieck

Pieter Vanderbeck

Jack Veasey

Jonathan Aryeh Wayne

Jacqueline de Weever

Don Washburn

Phillis Wheatley

Sarah Helen Whitman

Section Links

Featured Poets

Guest Poets


Presses & Journals