Acquainted with the Night: Insomnia Poems

Acquainted with the Night: Insomnia Poems

by Lisa Russ Spaar
     
 

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,

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe - Herbert Kupferberg
This dark-hued but often beautiful anthology offers poems from many cultures.

Boston Globe
This dark-hued but often beautiful anthology offers poems from many cultures.

— Herbert Kupferberg

Dana Gioia
One of the greatest pleasures for me as a poetry lover is to discover a remarkable new anthology full of unfamiliar gems and forgotten classics. Lisa Russ Spaar's Acquainted with the Night is exactly this sort of book—vital, engrossing, and enlarging. Spaar's treatment of her single subject is astonishingly diverse, ranging from ancient Greek to modern Japanese. She mixes compelling poems from Russia, Italy, India, China, Sweden, France, and elsewhere with a striking selection from the English-speaking world. As she explores her dark subject, insomnia becomes a focal point for the human condition.

James Tate
An amazingly rich anthology organized around a single theme. From Shakespeare to John Keats to Whitman to Charles Simic and Jane Kenyon, the subject of insomnia has been addressed by poets for centuries around the world. And what is fascinatingly represented here is the rich variety of visions conjured by the experience of sleeplessness -many are like hallucinations of otherworldliness. The involuntary wakefulness creates thoughts stranger than dreams. But, best of all, this is just a wonderful collection of poems.
Herbert Kupferberg
This dark-hued but often beautiful anthology offers poems from many cultures.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231115445
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
10/13/1999
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
4.86(w) x 6.83(h) x 0.84(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Dana Gioia
One of the greatest pleasures for me as a poetry lover is to discover a remarkable new anthology full of unfamiliar gems and forgotten classics. Lisa Russ Spaar's Acquainted with the Night is exactly this sort of book — vital, engrossing, and enlarging. Spaar's treatment of her single subject is astonishingly diverse, ranging from ancient Greek to modern Japanese. She mixes compelling poems from Russia, Italy, India, China, Sweden, France, and elsewhere with a striking selection from the English-speaking world. As she explores her dark subject, insomnia becomes a focal point for the human condition.

Meet the Author

Lisa Russ Spaar is a lecturer in creative writing and the administrator of the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing in the English Department at the University of Virginia. Collections of Spaar's own poetry include Blind Boy on Skates and Glass Town.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >