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House of Mystery

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House of Mystery is a beautifully dark and vivid collection of poems that tears down our familiar ideas about fairy tales. These are not poems about privileged princesses who live happily ever after; these are poems about monsters, mothers, witches and mermaids. They explore the pain of change and womanhood, and transform the way we think about fairy tales.


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House of Mystery is a beautifully dark and vivid collection of poems that tears down our familiar ideas about fairy tales. These are not poems about privileged princesses who live happily ever after; these are poems about monsters, mothers, witches and mermaids. They explore the pain of change and womanhood, and transform the way we think about fairy tales.

51 review for House of Mystery

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Gordon

    House of Mystery is a book of poetry that tackles fairy tales, dragging them into the modern age with feminist critique. This book is less about princesses and heroes, but the monsters of the stories, and the darkness that exists in all of them. I enjoyed this slim book given my love for fairy tales, though I wish Bates-Hardy had pushed harder with her language. Her poems were not as evocative as I would have wanted, mostly because the language seemed a little too easy and similar across the poe House of Mystery is a book of poetry that tackles fairy tales, dragging them into the modern age with feminist critique. This book is less about princesses and heroes, but the monsters of the stories, and the darkness that exists in all of them. I enjoyed this slim book given my love for fairy tales, though I wish Bates-Hardy had pushed harder with her language. Her poems were not as evocative as I would have wanted, mostly because the language seemed a little too easy and similar across the poems. Sure, this is a collection, but it needed a little something more to be truly great.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    House of Mystery is the debut poetry collection of Courtney Bates-Hardy (although “debut” is something of a misnomer, as many of the poems in this book were first published in magazines, and the first section, Siren, was originally published as a chap-book entitled Sea Foam by JackPine Press). The book is a debut, however, in the sense that it is one of the first offerings of KQP, a new poetry imprint from famed Canadian genre-publisher ChiZine Press. KQP were wise to forge new ground with this House of Mystery is the debut poetry collection of Courtney Bates-Hardy (although “debut” is something of a misnomer, as many of the poems in this book were first published in magazines, and the first section, Siren, was originally published as a chap-book entitled Sea Foam by JackPine Press). The book is a debut, however, in the sense that it is one of the first offerings of KQP, a new poetry imprint from famed Canadian genre-publisher ChiZine Press. KQP were wise to forge new ground with this magnificent book. Like a sorceress, Bates-Hardy conjures vivid illusions with her evocative free verse poetry. The poems in this book possess a musicality, and are eminently unpretentious and accessible – which is not to say that they aren't complex and artful. Poems like “= ≠” and “Eclipse” invite readers to turn them over and examine them from all angles. The breadth of subject matter in this collection is striking. Like the fairy tales that inspire them, these poems contain life, death, and everything in between. The experiences they relate range from the intimate to the universal. Bates-Hardy frequently approaches subjects of scorn (step-sisters, witches, ogres) with empathy, which casts old tales in new light. Bates-Hardy also demonstrates her fairy tale bonafides, with a deep well of material represented here – we are not limited to just those tales that appear in Disney (although those stories are present as well). With House of Mystery, Courtney Bates-Hardy has marked herself out as a poet to watch. This is a book for anyone who loves beautiful language, and I particularly recommend it to anyone who does not consider themselves a reader of poetry, but loves fairy tales. I hope this book will serve as both a gateway and a meeting ground for poetry lovers and fairy tale lovers – and for those who already love both, you have found a home.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Blythe

    House of Mystery by Courtney Bates-Hardy draws on the dark undertones of fairy tales, providing a haunting look into the role of women in those stories.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Book

    I mean, I don’t really even know what poetry is anymore, but this was pretty great!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Martineau

    I think this book was probably the perfect book to read leading up to Halloween. The poems melded reality and fairy tale together, and touched on the occasionally dark and mysterious experiences that are common in childhood and adolescence in a way that felt eery and relatable but didn't make me want to cringe. For myself, the highlights of the book were definitely Siren (the poem, though the Siren section of the book was lovely), Midnight, "The Good People", Red II, House of Mystery (this poem I think this book was probably the perfect book to read leading up to Halloween. The poems melded reality and fairy tale together, and touched on the occasionally dark and mysterious experiences that are common in childhood and adolescence in a way that felt eery and relatable but didn't make me want to cringe. For myself, the highlights of the book were definitely Siren (the poem, though the Siren section of the book was lovely), Midnight, "The Good People", Red II, House of Mystery (this poem was so similar to a recurring nightmare I've had since I was in elementary school, I loved it), Upon Marriage, Witch I and Witch II (I feel like any woman in her 20's/30's will relate to these two), and Red Swing Set. Beautiful cover art, and the book itself is an adorably almost square type size that is perfect to tuck into a bag, purse, or backpack to read here and there.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Stufflebeam

    I'm a sucker for fairy tale poems. If you're looking for great explorations of women in fairy tale, Bates-Hardy has you covered. Subjects range from sirens to traditional tales: one of my favorites gives the evil stepsister's point-of-view. Many of these poems are dark. Most are highly original. All are worth reading deeply.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺

    It's not often that I read poetry, and even more rare is a book of poetry that I can't put down! But these poems, questioning, critiquing, and revisiting familiar tales of childhood are quite intriguing.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Breaux

    Excellent read!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa-Marie Brunnen

    Dark, lyrical, and often haunting, this collection is perfect for any fans of fairy tales and their hidden depths. After reading the final poem, I found myself turning back the pages to re-read several that had struck me. I think my favourite may be "The Good People" but as I intend to read this collection again, and again, perhaps my favourite will shift.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tea

    Fantastic book. Everyone should read it!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Josh Brown

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Hayden Booker

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brett Sãvory

  14. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jamie F

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ada Hoffmann

  17. 4 out of 5

    Monique Snyman

  18. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  19. 4 out of 5

    Breanna Morgan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Faith

  21. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Josh Haugerud

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cbsd library

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ted Landrum

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Plecash

  26. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Bates-Hardy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lara Maynard

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marcel

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lorra

  30. 5 out of 5

    Judi Phillips

  31. 5 out of 5

    Suki

  32. 4 out of 5

    Carol McFarlane

  33. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

  34. 5 out of 5

    Manda

  35. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Gunning

  36. 5 out of 5

    Alex Folkins

  37. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  38. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  39. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  40. 5 out of 5

    Daryl Moad

  41. 4 out of 5

    Riannon

  42. 4 out of 5

    Jeannine

  43. 5 out of 5

    A

  44. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

  45. 4 out of 5

    Angelia

  46. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Kennedy

  47. 5 out of 5

    Gabriela

  48. 5 out of 5

    karen

  49. 4 out of 5

    Nina

  50. 5 out of 5

    Dai Actis

  51. 4 out of 5

    Moon

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