NEWS for 2024
In our secularized society, what kind of faith in our collective powers and imaginations can be patch-worked together, and what might be the role of angels? Through multiple locales, languages and spiritualities, A Bouquet Brought Back from Space both subverts and sublimates traditions of religious poetry, love poetry, and song. Playful in form and formed full of play, this fourth book of poetry by Kevin Spenst explores loss, love and faith through the palindrome, Madlib, Fibonacci, found poem, prose poem, sonnet and various strains of free verse. Spenst meditates on mental health, poetic friendships and influences, and the possibility of there being an angel assigned to the Mennonites at the beginning of their global journey. These poems sing, cry, and soothe. A Bouquet is now available for pre-order through Anvil Press!
NEWS for 2023
I’m putting together a fifty-venue poetry tour of the country. I’ll be reading from my new chapbooks, A Video Tape Swaddled in Purple Wool and Recto-Verso Chez the Devil’s Printers and some of Hearts Amok from April to July! Here are the venues so far:
NEWS for 2022
I’m over the moon to announce that I’ll be teaching Poetry 2 once again this April through Simon Fraser University’s Continuing Studies. It’s something I’ve put blood, sweat, tears, and 40,000 words into.
Are you interested in harnessing the musicality of language? Take this class!! Are you interested in considering the process of writing? Take this class! Are you interested in using different languages in your poetry? Take this class! Wanna get surreal?! Take this class!! Are you interested in attention, memory, and imagination? Well, you really have to take this class!
If you’re more interested in a general survey class, I’ll be teaching CWRI 1174 Introduction to Creative Writing in person at Vancouver Community College starting May 9, 2022. (Some of the same questions above but applied to fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry!)
Finally, if you are a public school teacher and you have a creative project that you’re working on, I’m organizing a two-week zoom workshop over the summer. Email me for more details.
NEWS for 2021
Saturday, Oct 17, I’ll be reading at BookFest Windsor with rob mclennan, David Ly, Evelyn Lau Moderated by: Melanie Janisse-Barlow (click here to register and do note the time difference)
…and the following weekend (Sunday, Oct 25), I’ll be reading (yes, drum roll please!) at the Vancouver International Writer’s Festival with Caroline Adderson, Francesca Ekwuyasi, Will Ferguson, Michelle Good and Jack Wang! Click here for the Afternoon Tea details!
These two upcoming weekends have me tickled pink and all sorts of other colours! I hope to see some of you there!
After doing over thirty physically-distanced, pop-up readings outside this past spring and summer, I’m pooped. If you want to see what it was all about, here’s some video footage. Otherwise, you can hear a well-rested me read from Hearts Amok this September and October at Word Vancouver, the 2020 Vancouver Writers Fest, the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, and Bookfest Windsor.
I had a poem last year in Best Canadian Poetry 2019 and I’ll have another one in Best Canadian Poetry 2020! Yes, how does that even happen?!
JOY KOGAWA HOUSE RESIDENCY
Earlier this year, I did a 2-month residency at the Historic Joy Kogawa House!
My first blog post on cherry blossom views
Newest chapbook with Frog Hollow Press | Cover looksie
CHAPBOOK ROUND UP
New review series in subTerrain | Peruse the mag
THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER
Interview with Sachiko Murakami | Read interview
WINNIPEG INTERNATIONAL WRITER’S FESTIVAL
A big thanks to Hannah Foulger for doing a write-up of my walkabout for the Winnipeg International Writer’s Festival in September 2016:
Before we officially begin, Kevin Spenst sits amidst this flurry of excited patrons, at a corner table, writing. His pen flows up and down the page with staccato impulse. He scrawls line after line, when a thought occurs to him, and he jumps back to the first, peeling out and scratching off this new poem to set off our Poetry Walkabout. Conversation floats over top and around this new incarnation, as we wait, talking, sipping and occasionally shooting a furtive glance in the direction of our guide-poet.
A finalist for the Alfred G. Baily 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.
JABBERING WITH BING BONG
Kevin Spenst’s much-anticipated debut collection of poetry opens as a coming-of-age narrative of lower-middle class life in Vancouver’s suburb of Surrey, embroidered within a myriad of pop—and “post-Mennonite”—culture.
Language is at play with sit-com sonnets, soundscapes of noise, videogame goombas, an Old-Testament God, teenage longing within the power chords of heavy metal, and the complicated loss of a father to schizophrenia. Jabbering with Bing Bong chronicles the heartbreaking and slapstick pursuit of truth in the realms of religion, mental health, and poetic form itself.
In April and May of 2015, Spenst embarked on his 50-venue reading tour of the province, AKA Jabbering with BC tour. Reading at bookstores, art galleries, coffee shops, breweries and other venues, he brought his bombastic style of reading to audiences big and small, suspecting and unsuspecting. Some of the poems were written on the spot, while most of the poetry came from the pages of Jabbering with Bing Bong.