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Acquainted with the Night : Insomnia Poems…

Acquainted with the Night : Insomnia Poems

by Lisa Russ Spaar

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I often avoid anthologies that bring together older works with newer ones, simply because the same poems tend to get reprinted over and over again. This book found me as a gift or I probably wouldn't have picked it up, but really, I was pleasantly surprised. The focus of the theme led the editor to choose older poems that aren't so well-known, even where the authors most certainly are, so there were few poems here that I'd read in the past. I did find it to be somewhat uneven--the poems in the first half of the book felt more various and kept me more engaged than the later part of the work, but all in all, I enjoyed wandering my way through it. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Sep 13, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 023111544X, Hardcover)

It is the rare individual who has not, at one time or another, been kept awake for hours on end--as the rest of the world, maddeningly, appears to be comfortably lost in the nocturnal world of dreams.

Here is a treasury of verse on the rich subject of insomnia--meditations by poets who have sought to describe their own moments of solitude in darkness, when the world's regular bustle of activity and distraction falls away and they are left to contemplate in silence.

Acquainted with the Night brings together Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop, Rimbaud and Sappho, Shakespeare and Shelley--the great poets of the Western literary heritage--on a theme with which each one has been acutely familiar. Lisa Russ Spaar has also unearthed ruminations on the sleepless nights of poets the world over: in a fascinatingly diverse anthology, she has harvested verse from Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Inuit, Vietnamese, Tamil, Yiddish, and Romanian poets, who together present an illuminating display of insomnia's extraordinary and enduring legacy in widely different cultures through the centuries.

As these exquisite poems chart a course from solitude, through anxiety, to epiphany, the reader truly learns what it means to be acquainted with the night.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 14 Jul 2015 11:09:49 -0400)

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