Friday Poem – ‘The House of Everything’ by Robert Seatter

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘The House of Everything’ the title poem from Robert Seatter’s new collection of the same name which is inspired by the collection of Sir John Soane’s Museum in London.

The cover of The House of Everything is a collage of images, including the nose and mouth of a statue with a shocked expression and the eyes of Audrey Hepburn.

Sir John Soane’s Museum in central London is a unique and idiosyncratic ‘house museum’, designed and built in the early 19th century by its obsessive architect/collector owner. The House of Everything takes the reader on a personal and poetic trail, capturing the tragic story of the man who created it, the eclectic collection he gathered within its walls, and most importantly what it says about our universal desire to leave a mark in space and time. No matter if you have never visited the place before – the texts are intercut with a series of striking collages made by the poet himself. They mix archive imagery of the house with contemporary visuals and help locate the reader in his/her passage through the house. They also help conjure the unique message of this book: how to make material our elusive dreams and imaginings.

The House of Everything. Everything must go in – fragments of stained glass, ancient cornice and pedstal, odd classical fee (human/animal), odd flowers from the sea now solid as rock, great works of the Italian masters in gilded frames – their names like pasta sauces, their ten-a-penny idylls. And sling in too the grimacing gargoyles for easy contrast, hacked from facades of windy cathedrals, a lank lock of hair from a saint and a sinner (they are one and the same), a missing pistol – its ricochet bullet somewhere in these rooms. Everything, everything. Now recite the list of what you saved. Now the one thing you missed: its gleaming plinth, its jealous empty space.

Note: Soane collected obsessively, the final collection in his house numbering almost 50,000 objects, each meticulously catalogued before his death.

The House of Everything is available on the Seren website: £9.99

Find out more about Sir John Soane’s Museum on their website

Create your free Seren account and enjoy 20% off every book you buy direct from us.

Join us on Wednesday 14th July from 7pm for the online launch of The House of Everything. Register for free via Eventbrite here Please note registration will close at 6:30pm on the 14th to ensure everyone receives the link.

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