If the House

If the House

by Molly Spencer




In these poems, well-known spaces both reassure and imperil, and language both anchors and disorients. Molly Spencer's speakers navigate the landscape of human experience, building upon the cycles of a household throughout the seasons of the year. Ordinary places and things—a kitchen table, a memory, a beloved's thigh—are viewed as if through the lens of a shifting, unsettling kaleidoscope. This incisive collection suggests that the imagined comfort we find in familiarity and routine belies the unease that lingers beneath.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780299325947
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date: 10/15/2019
Series: Wisconsin Poetry Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Molly Spencer is a poetry editor at The Rumpus and a lecturer at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Her work has appeared in Georgia Review, New England Review, and Ploughshares.

Table of Contents


If I tell you everything, maybe as day fades 3

Conversation with Lace Thong and Car Keys 4

Conversation with Glass and Joist 5

Silences: snowfall 6

Grisaille | August 8

Because I want to give them more than the small, gray stone 9

Moving Day 11

Love at These Coordinates 12

Disclosures | If you are aware of any settling 13


Interior with a Woman Peeling Oranges, Snapping Beans 17

There Is Only One Word for Snow, but I Want More 23

Tentative Theories 24

Elegy with Edge Effects 25

Meditation at Fishtown 26

Meadow | A Reckoning 28


Night Repairs 37

Conversation with Shower and Vestibule 38

Disclosures | If you are aware of any shared features 39

Disclosures | If you are aware of any nuisance animals such as crows, chickens, or barking dogs 40

Elegy Beginning with a Text from My Brother 42

As if life can go on as it has 44

Even so, the first bird 45

Elegy at the Strandline 47

Nocturne 48

Conversation with Distance and Shaking 49


Litany 53

Bridging 54

Meditation at Ice-Out 58


Love Story 61

Disclosures | If the house is built on a hillside 63

In Southeast Lower Michigan, a Chance of Snow after Midnight 64

Vestige 65

Aubade 67

Address to the Meadow in the Dusk 68

Frank Next Door 69

Translation 71

Conversation with Windows and Green 72

How to Love the New House 74

I Talk Myself through the Facts of Each Day 75

Notes 77

Acknowledgments 81

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