Literary Nonfiction. GHOST/HOME: A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BEING HAUNTED traces the course of a disease through a body, a ghost through a home, and a feeling through the language that tries to hold it. How does illness travel through us? What do we do with the parts of ourselves we feel but cannot grasp? Where are the ghosts in our lives, and what are their names? In diagrams of ghosts, readings of Clarice Lispector, photographs, interviews, and lyric prose, GHOST/HOME extends these questions into uncharted territory. The chapbook seeks to do the impossible: to diagram the elusive, the invisible, the haunting. Like its cover—an early Anna Atkins cyanotype, which transforms an image of algae into a ghostly figure—GHOST/HOME transforms the experience of living with Crohn's disease into an incalculable, invisible, but pervasive entity.
"Through urgent, intimate prose and diagrams of hauntings, GHOST/HOME shows us that ghosts are more than billowing curtains and flashes of light—ghosts are Crohn's, ghosts are history, ghosts are feelings with nowhere to go. Rather than an exorcism, Sweeney coordinates a calling-in, a reckoning with the spirits that move through his body and shape his life."—Amy Berkowitz
"'You don't have to go far to find the ghost in you,' Dennis Sweeney writes in his beautiful and contemplative work, GHOST/HOME. Tracing the invisible thread that somehow tethers a body, its complex relationship with inhabiting and being inhabited, the conjurations here operate as compassionately examined intricacies of living in a wounded body. Sweeney masterfully weaves a narrative around being haunted, the irrecoverable condition of occupying a body as both occupied and occupier, a deeply embodied 'I' that seeks healing and transformative recognition within a space that is reluctant to dispel its ghosts. A tender embrace, this text will haunt you and heal you. A remarkable work; I couldn't recommend this more."—Janice Lee
"What is it to be inhabited? What happens when it's your body that is haunted? Whose is your body anyway? GHOST/HOME asks all the right questions about flesh and spirit and health and not-health and how we live with our inheritances. All that and Clarice Lispector too!! An auspicious book."—Rebecca Brown
Dennis James Sweeney is the author of You're the Woods Too (Essay Press, 2023) and In the Antarctic Circle (Autumn House Press, 2021), as well as several chapbooks of poetry and prose, including Ghost/Home: A Beginner's Guide to Being Haunted (Ricochet Editions, 2020). His writing has appeared in Ecotone, Five Points, Ninth Letter, The New York Times, and The Southern Review, among others. Formerly a Small Press Editor of Entropy and Assistant Editor of Denver Quarterly, he has an MFA from Oregon State University and a PhD from the University of Denver. Originally from Cincinnati, he lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he teaches at Amherst College.