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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).

This is the 239th publication of The Poet's Press. ISBN 978-0-922558-34-6. 145 pp., 6 x 9 inches, paperback. Published April 2019. $16.95.


Version 1.0 Updated April 17, 2020.

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