Cover Image: The Poet's House

The Poet's House

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Member Reviews

I always enjoy a story about writers and this story of writers, some overly dramatic was entertaining.
Carla is let into an inner circle of poets when she was invited to work for Viridian, a lovely aging poet. Carla finds herself engrossed in their stories and their shared history. This group lived and died by the words ok a page and in times of darkness the words helped find their way, especially Carla as she tried to navigate what she wants to do in life. 
Thank you #algonquin and  #NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I liked this one, it was an incredible lit fic summer read. The characters were relatable and well fleshed out, the pacing was steady, and the prose was insightful and beautiful, yet simple. The one things is that at times I felt it could have gone further in the message it was trying to convey.
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Carla is a landscaper in her twenties feeling like she has no direction in life. A landscaping job introduces her to Viridian, a lovely and mysterious woman who turns out to be a legendary poet. Carla is drawn to Viridian’s garden, retreat and the world of writers and poets: a cast of effervescent characters who are hilarious, human and vulnerable. During this transformative period in her life, Carla discovers the power and sheer beauty of language. At its core, The Poet’s House is a comforting coming-of-age story full of humor and heart. It’s the perfect, feel-good summer read.
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I requested The Poet's House for background reading for a First Impressions Program booked by Travis. The book scored a very positive 4.4-star average among our member-reviewers, so in addition to the three weeks' of promotion connected with the First Impressions Program, we are also featuring it as  "Today's Top Pick" recommendation across BookBrowse for at least a week.from Wed 17 Aug. 

Beyond the Book:
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I was pretty disappointed in this book. It didn't grab me like it should have and took too long to get into. A good chunk of it could have been cut as well. A landscaper who becomes enamoured with a houses' owner who happens to be a poet. Not sure where she fits in, Carla, the landscaper becomes involved in the life and times of writers in California. Very predictable.
A special thank you for the advanced readers copy from Algonquin book for an honest review.
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Carla is a twentylandscaper who has felt constrained and discounted by her learning differences. When she starts working for a well-known poet, Viridian, she is not only drawn into her circle of artistic friends, she discovers she has a great appreciation for poetry. Her boyfriend, though, is not as thrilled with Carla's new interests and friends.

Viridian has also been defined by her relationship with Mathias, known as a brilliant but troubled poet. But was there more to the relationship than people realized?

During this fateful summer, Carla's life is upended by her new friends, but to her own surprise, she has as much influence on them as they do on her. It's hard to compartmentalize the genre of this novel, but I loved it. I thought it started a little slow, but once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. One of my favorite books this year. #ThePoetsHouse #NetGalley
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This book truly has everything! Love, humor, mystery, and so much more! I really think that poets and writers will hold it in a special place of their heart. It is an unusual book written with great sensitivity. I highly recommend it.
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A light yet deep novel about finding oneself through the power of words.

Carla is a young women trying to find her place in the world.  Working as a landscaper, she becomes involved with a well known poet and the group of writers surrounding her.  Although suffering from dyslexia, Carla finds that listening to poetry being read speaks to her and she begins to realize what she has been missing.  Carla ends up working with some of the people in the writers group and struggles to understand both them and herself.

Carla is a well developed character who rings true and her story is a rich and enjoyable one.
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At 21 years old, Carla is stuck working for a landscaper. A learning disability prevents her from pursuing further education, she thinks. She has a boyfriend Aaron whom she loves. But her mom pressures her to find more fulfilling work and pits her against an older sister.
One day, Carla starts a job at the home of aging poet Viridian. A handful of characters pop in and out of the house, and Carla finds herself growing attached to the people she meets and to their poetry. Yet she remains on the outside looking in. And that might be a good thing as she learns more about herself and life.
I enjoyed the poetry in this book. There's not much of it, leaving plenty of room for the novel. But what's included is powerful and touching. 
And I appreciate that the author reminds readers to discern for themselves what type of poetry they enjoy. This genre is open to interpretation and up to individual readers to decide what they like.
I also liked the theme of self-reliance. Sure, we can depend on others and nurture professional networks, social friendships and intimate relationships. But in general, Viridian and Carla learn how to live for themselves rather than rely on a man to provide their income, identity, purpose, and life path.
While this book isn't lyrical, it is relaxing. I found myself settling in and feeling comforted as I read.
There's not quite a happy ending, which I like. Also, the author resolves the various story lines, which is satisfying.
One thing I didn't like is that despite the lack of income, all the characters seem to live with no regard for income restrictions. That's not realistic for most readers.
Triggers include suicide, mental health, sexual content, physical violence, mental and emotional abuse, and medical trauma.
Favorite quotes:
"Poetry is breath and bread changed into words."
"Could you ever be in love without being somehow diminished?"
Thank you to Algonquin for the advance copy and the opportunity to review The Poet's House. I want to live there one day!
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The Poet's House by Jean Thompson is a coming of age story. The main character Carla is introduced to her own potential. This story takes a while to settle into. Ultimately, the fact that art - especially art with words - is the vehicle for Carla's growth of course resonates with this reader. I believe in the power of words to alter lives, and this book personifies that. 

Read my complete review at 

Reviewed for NetGalley and a publisher’s blog tour.
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The premise of this book sounded great and I loved the idea of a summer read about poets. However, the level of the writing and the actual story didn't live up to the jacket copy. I appreciate the opportunity to read an e-galley, but will not add this title to my creative writing classes.
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I’ve never read anything by Jean Thompson before and after finishing this book, I intend to rectify that. Thompson’s writing is so good, so sure, that although you just wanted to read a few pages before bed, you’re all of a sudden looking at the clock and it says 2AM and oh no tomorrow morning is gonna be rough. Read this book. Carla is a very endearing hero who I loved getting to know. I will think about her and this book for a long while.
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21-year-old landscaper and lost Californian Carla is pulled into a world of poets, dinner parties, and literary conferences by a new client- Viridian, a poetry legend whose reading deeply moves Carla.

Carla has never been a reader. An unnamed learning difference has kept her from enjoying literature. But Viridian loans Carla books, reads to her, and connects her to important people in the literary world. Most importantly, Viridian pushes Carla to develop her own personhood. Who is she? What does she like? Viridian is a would-be mother figure to Carla, until glimpses of Viridian’s mythical past complicate Carla’s feelings. A son comes forward, and a past relationship with a volatile, iconic poet whose mysterious final work Viridian is rumored to have, somewhere in that house. 

This book considers artists- their motivations, their communities, their gender politics, and how they age. It considers these things through the lens of a non-artist, an appreciator. It’s easy to identify with Carla. Surrounded by artists, she feels stupid, like she couldn’t possibly know anything worth saying. Her shame keeps her on the outskirts at times, running away from the possibility of being seen as provincial even when encouraged to engage.

The book is beautifully atmospheric. Viridian’s house and the poet collective that buzzes around it are warm and comforting. The lackadaisical plot makes for some drag in the middle, but I didn’t mind. I wanted to hang at the edge of the dinner party, when-glass in hand, and just listen.
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Imagine The Outsiders. Now Set It In A Poetry Commune. That's largely how I wound up seeing this book. Our main character is a great fish out of water that gets sucked into this world she really has no clue about and finds herself navigating new friendships and controversies along the way, all while trying to understand the enigmatic leader of the group and uncover what this leader is hiding. There is quite a bit of meta commentary here, both generally and in the final reveal of exactly what had been happening for all these years, but even that didn't really ascend to "preachy" levels, more just spice to the overall story. Yes, there was quite a bit of humor in this book too, but for me the humor made it more readable without taking away from the overall serious tone I was getting for some reason. But perhaps I'm just weird. (I know I am, but maybe my reactions to this book were particularly weird?) Very much recommended.
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Carla is working a landscaping job, even though her mom and her boyfriend make her feel like she should be doing more with her life.

Her current client is Viridian Boone, an aging but elegant poet. Carla sets out to plant the Salvia and Shasta daisies when she suddenly finds herself in the gravitational pull of Viridian and her quirky but endearing group of poet friends.

Carla is fired from her landscaping gig and now feels like a total loser. But when she is offered to work for Viridian, she’s excited but intimidated. Carla knows nothing about poetry; in fact, she has a reading disability that has always held her back. Soon Viridian’s world of poetry opens up something new within Carla. 

Let me first say I loved the writing in this book! Jean Thompson writes in such a natural, genuine manner that you just melt into the narrative. I adored Oscar, Viridian’s friend and fellow poet; eccentric, yes, but I loved how he viewed the world. Carla is young, searching for what the future holds, and Viridian wisely and poetically encourages her. This story shares incredible insight with both humor and heart.

Thank you @algonquinbooks for a spot on tour and a gifted copy.
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Carla's life changes when she overhears Viridian read a poem.  Now 21, Carla struggled and more or less abandoned reading because of a learning disability and she's now unhappily working with a landscaper.  Viridian, a 70 something dynamo, takes Carla under her wing and brings her into her circle of poets.  Viridian's long dead lover Mathias, also a poet, was famous for love poems about her and for burning his poetry after reading it but the other poets believe that Viridian has a stash of his poems somewhere.  Thompson has turned a very sharp eye on poets- each character stands out and will either make you smile or shake your head.  This is less about those poets, though, than about Carla coming into herself.  She's a fine creation, a young women who didn't expect much of herself and now wants so much more.  Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.  Great read.
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Carla is a young woman in her late-twenties living in California and working as a landscaper. She enjoys the work and is content for the time being, but is not so sure what her future looks like. After completing a job at the home of Viridian, a poet with a certain gravitas, Carla gets drawn into the lives of Viridian and her friends in the poetry community. While Carla is becoming more involved with this group, she never exists as more than a young helper - a free assistant at a poetry magazine and a coordinator for a local poetry retreat - further exacerbating her questioning of self.

The Poet's House received a rave view on NPR, which propelled this book to the top of my pile. The book is being advertised as similar to Lily King's Writers and Lovers which is one of my favorites. While there are some similarities - both follow young women attempting to find themselves and both take place on the fringes of the literary world - I personally liked Writers and Lovers much more, mostly because I cared more about the stakes of the story and the characters contained therein. The Poet's House is certainly well-written, but I was not particularly attached to any of the characters or the central conflict.
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You know that feeling when a book draws you in and you’re not sure why? That is exactly what I experienced in reading The Poet’s House. I became mesmerized by the words, the sentences. This story revolves around a group of writers that the main character, Carla, inadvertently becomes acquainted with as a result of a landscaping job. Carla has always struggled with reading but after hearing a poetry reading a whole world opens up for her. We not only see a writer's world through their eyes, we see it through Carla’s eyes also as she tries to navigate her path in life. All the characters bring so much to the story along with the setting. This is one of those books that has messages throughout if you are paying attention.
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I adored this book. Jean Thompson has a similar writing style to one of my favorite authors Lily King so I felt at ease. Thank you NetGalley & the publisher for the ARC!
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“I thought that poetry must be love, or maybe love was poetry.”
This is a fun summer read about a young woman, who during a transitional phase of her life is swept up in the lives of artists. We watch her get more and more immersed in a circle of poets, discovering the beauty of written work and performative art. 

I loved Viridian’s character and the welcoming yet mysterious aurora that she projects. Wish I could sit on her porch with her and a glass of lemonade while listening to her life stories.

The main settings, Viridian’s house, and the retreat were so summery and fun. The varying personalities of the cast, from Carla and Oscar to Boone and Gil, was array across the board that just made me laugh.

At times I found the plot a tad slow-moving but it eventually picked back up. The ending also left me feeling a bit let down, the MC, Carla’s, character arc felt like it was building up to something throughout and then just kinda fell flat (which wasn’t the case for other characters).

This book explores the weight of an artist’s legacy and what it means to be a member of the poetry community. It is a perfect summer read with some added twists and turns.
Some of my favorite quotes that I highlighted while reading:

“I thought that poetry must be love, or maybe love was poetry.”

“You need to get over the idea of supposed to be. You need to develop your own standards, your likes, and dislikes. That’s part of critical thinking.”

“You think writing poems has something to do with talent? Not much at all. It has to do with pure, stubborn determination to keep doing it, to not be discouraged by the thousand things that are meant to discourage you. Nobody cares if you do it or not. No guarantees that anybody is going to read any of it.”

“How much was a legacy of poems worth anyway? Was it the exact weight of a short life subtracted from a long one, the difference in years?”

“I was thinking that maybe I liked poetry more than I liked poets.”
**review to be posted on my IG soon**
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