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October 9, 2004

Insomnia Poems


Lisa Russ Spaar edited this wonderful anthology, entitled "Acquainted With The Night."

Even if you don't like poetry, and don't have insomnia, the book's worth buying and owning.


Because it's a masterpiece of design.

The dust jacket is gorgeous, all shades of blue and black; the book itself, a small pocket or pocketbook-sized vade mecum, measures a bit less than 5" x 7".

Beautiful inside as well as out, it's laid out in an exceedingly eye-friendly way.

Spaar - herself an insomniac - decided to make constructive use of her affliction.

Vladimir Nabokov called sleep "the most moronic fraternity in the world, with the heaviest dues and the crudest rituals... a nightly betrayal of reason, humanity, genius."

This book contains a whole slew of poems from authors ancient and modern, famous and obscure, on this eternal problem.

In addition, Spaar's written a superb "Brief Biographies of the Poets" appendix for the book - and I do mean brief: they're generally two sentences long, but most enjoyable for all that.

The book's cover price is $19.95; amazon sells it new for $13.97, and used copies there go for as little as $4.59.

This book represents the highest and best use of your $5 you're gonna find today.

Insomnia - by Elizabeth Bishop

The moon in the bureau mirror
looks out a million miles
(and perhaps with pride, at herself,
but she never, never smiles)
far and away beyond sleep, or
perhaps she's a daytime sleeper.

By the Universe deserted,
she'd tell it to go to hell,
and she'd find a body of water,
or a mirror, on which to dwell.
So wrap up care in a cobweb
and drop it down the well

into that world inverted
where left is always right,
where the shadows are really the body,
where we stay awake all night,
where the heavens are shallow as the sea
is now deep, and you love me.

October 9, 2004 at 03:01 AM | Permalink


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