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Open House: Poems

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  114 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
“With its high spirits, its love of textures of different kinds of writing . . . [this] is an immensely lively performance.” —Robert Hass

Open House is the year 2001 winner of the Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry
for a First Book. We at Zoo are eminently pleased to have such a fine
book of verse for our inaugural Kenyon Review Prize volume. Fennelly's
poems are well poised in
...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published June 29th 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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David Schaafsma
Jul 06, 2017 David Schaafsma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This is my favorite Beth Ann Fennelly poem, which happens to be in this collection, Open House.

Asked for a Happy Memory of her Father, She Recalls Wrigley Field
His drinking was different in sunshine,
as if it couldn't be bad. Sudden, manic,
he swung into a laugh, bought me
two ice creams, said One for each hand.

Half the hot inning I licked Good Humor
running down wrists. My bird-mother
earlier, packing my pockets with sun block,
has hopped her warning: Be careful.

So, pinned between his knees, I held
hi
...more
James Murphy
Aug 09, 2009 James Murphy rated it it was amazing
As long as there has been poetry there have been women who write it erotically. Edna St Vincent Millay comes to mind, and Adrienne Rich. And my favorite, Sharon Olds. They write frankly about their sexuality. I can't think of another woman poet who writes as openly about doing sex as Fennelly. Such men as John Montague and Walter Benton do it, and wonderfully. But their eroticism is cradled in love poetry without the explicit. Fennelly's poetry of this sort sings of the erotic rather than her se ...more
Diann Blakely
Poets with a single collection and those sponsored by less well-known presses, as was the case with Beth Ann Fennelly and Sarah Kennedy in 2001, can be overlooked at large gatherings and festivals. But as one who enjoys the tough-minded marriage of story and song, I made certain to catch these two's appearances at the Southern Festival of Books that year. Both native Midwesterners, Kennedy and Fennelly write poems that plumb love’s complexities, especially the kind that begins with our original ...more
Diana
Apr 14, 2015 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply stunning, nothing more to add. Fennelly is a force, and this house is one I want to visit again and again. The long title poem perfectly captures the Daylater critic's voice: "This won't work, you know." Any writer who has sighed at a manuscript she once thought brilliant will instantly recognize what Fennelly has done here. Her perspective on writing is not only interesting to poets themselves, but anyone with a critical perspective on her own life and choices. This collection is a winne ...more
T.Kay Browning
Nov 22, 2013 T.Kay Browning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I am so inexperienced with poetry as to not be a great judge of anything. I feel like this might be a 3 star book, but I'll leave it at 4 because I am insecure. There is a nice balance of bigger themes and self-revation, of dense metaphor and clearer experience and analogy. There weren't any lines that really spoke to me, however. Maybe on a second read.
Nathanael Griggs
My favorite of all of Beth-Ann's work! She has been a dear friend, colleague and mentor. The personality, poetic rhythm, diction, syntax, I can go on and on.. Brilliantly written.
Beth Anne
Oct 03, 2007 Beth Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to show my support for the other Beth Ann/Anne poets of the world!
Summer
Oct 02, 2007 Summer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My absolute favorite book of english-language poetry.
Rose
Feb 07, 2011 Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
LOVE!
Craig
Jan 20, 2008 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Poem not to be read at your wedding" is fantastic. It's hard for me to give this 4 stars, but there were only two poems that I loved. That one is almost worth a 5 star rating on its own, though.
James
Feb 11, 2008 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Saw her read in person. Just stunning. A great collection.
Carol
Apr 08, 2008 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poems from this book that I particularly liked:
The Insecurities of Great Men
The Snake Charmer
Why I Can't Cook for Your Self-Centered Architect Cousin
Meter
good to read. for its word play, accessibility, range of ideas, openness, acknowledgment of modern situations, and disconcert.

and after reading you will know why my review sounds such.
Michael Gossett
Sep 15, 2011 Michael Gossett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I particularly love the 'notebook' poem(s) in the middle of the book: it (they) inspired much (all) of my undergraduate poetry portfolio.
Terri
Jan 12, 2011 Terri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I wish I could half stars. Great debut collection.
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Beth Ann Fennelly is the author of Tender Hooks: Poems and Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother . A professor of English at the University of Mississippi, Fennelly lives with her husband and children in Oxford, Mississippi.
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