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Gussie FauntelroyA nightstand companion for inspiration and comfort.
A book like Bedside Prayers: Prayers and Poems for When You Rise and Go to Sleep is not one to gobble down like a mystery novel or best-seller. Edited by June Cotner, this compact book of poems is better in small bites, savored slowly.
It is also best read in the spirit of those who wrote the poems: On either edge of sleep, the poet (and reader) can drop worldly pretense, momentarily set aside cynicism and through the poet’s words take the stance of a child, not embarrassed by outright expressions of wonder, longing, gratitude and devotion.
Divided into sections titled “Inspiration,” “Comfort,” “Reflections,” “Nightfall” and “Morning,” the collection draws from a variety of spiritual backgrounds, yet most of the poems are not colored by language associated with a particular faith. Accessible and straightforward, they speak of the universal human experience, often expressing a genuine desire to live more kindly, be more fully awake to the beauty around us and move closer to the divine.
Bedside Prayers includes verses by George Eliot, Rainer Maria Rilke, Buddha, Helen Keller and Ralph Waldo Emerson as well as numerous lesser-known poets. Two Santa Fe poets, Penny Harter and Elizabeth Searle Lamb, have works in the collection.
Harter, in particular, provides one of the more original voices in the book, whose poems range from the almost sing-songy to the fresh and surprising. For the reader in a receptive, dawn or dusk state of mind, both kinds have their place.
— The New Mexican