A Man's House Catches Fire
Date: 10th October 2019
Extent: 72 pp
What to do when everything goes up in flames? Summon up Tom Sastry’s poems, with all their elegant, satirical and hurt-quenching power: here are nightmares and fairytales, museums full of regret, misenchantments and magic for dark times.
Whilst the accelerants of complicity and violence seep from these exacting poems, Sastry’s wit and stoicism slake the bonfire of modern troubles. They defiantly ask us: why do “the great marquees of England” stand empty? How old is your heart? Why aren’t we listening to the sea, and what it has to say? Funny, marvellously frank and often courageous, A Man’s House is on Fire urges us to take a long hard look into the flames and avert the disasters of the heart, home and nations that threaten to befall us all.
This much anticipated debut collection by poet Tom Sastry follows on from his pamphlet Complicity, selected by Carol Ann Duffy for the Poetry Business Laureate’s Choice and awarded the Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice.
“Tom Sastry’s poems stare down the ridiculousness of the world we live in, and offer us ways to carry on in spite of it. These are poems of bright wit and astonishing vulnerability, with one eye always on the future. A Man’s House Catches Fire gives us the simultaneous pain and joy of being a human being; reminds us it is marvellous / that it still hurts.” – Suzannah Evans
“Tom Sastry is a magician of deadpan. He’s kind of like if the Atlantic Ocean had a laugh track. Terrifying and hypnotic, but also desperately funny. This collection is generous in both its clarity and mystery. Sastry’s lines about boredom and despair have some of the same counter-intuitive lightness and warmth as Berryman. His poems contradict each other, line to line. They have humour, vulnerability and anger in all the wrong places. His writing is so good it doesn’t even sound like it’s been written at all, and if you don’t think that’s a compliment, you’re trying too hard. And who doesn’t love a burning house?” — Hera Lindsay Bird
Tom Sastry was chosen by Carol Ann Duffy as one of the 2016 Laureate's Choice poets. His resulting pamphlet Complicity was a Poetry School Book of the Year and a Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice. He is the co-editor with Suzannah Evans of Everything That Can Happen, a poetry anthology about the future published by The Emma Press. This is his first full collection. An accomplished reader and performer, Tom has a growing reputation as a spoken word artist. A book of his performance poems will be published by Burning Eye Books in 2020.