The Dream of Reason

The Dream of Reason

by Jenny George


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Jenny George’s debut showcases an astonishing poetic talent, a new voice that is intensely focused, patient, and empathic. The Dream of Reason explores the paradoxical relationships between humans and the animals we imagine, keep, fear, and consume. Titled after Goya’s grotesque bestiary, George’s own dreamscape is populated by purring moths, bats that crawl like goblins, and livestock—especially pigs, whose spirit and slaughter inform a central series of portraits. The poems invite moments of stark realism into a spacious, lucid realm just outside of time—finding revelation in stillness, intimacy in violence, and vision in language that lifts from the dark.

From “Threshold Gods”:

I saw a bat in a dream and then later that week
I saw a real bat, crawling on its elbows across the porch like a goblin.
It was early evening. I want to ask about death.
But first I want to ask about flying.

Jenny George lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she runs a foundation for Buddhist-based social justice. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556595196
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
Publication date: 04/17/2018
Pages: 72
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

The recipient of a 2015 “Discovery” / Boston Review Poetry Prize, Jenny George lives in Santa Fe, NM, where she has served as program coordinator since 2010 for

Hidden Leaf, a Buddhist-based social justice foundation. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Ploughshares, Narrative, Cimarron Review, The Collagist,

Crab Orchard Review, FIELD, Inch, Indiana Review, and Shenandoah. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fund, the Bread Loaf

Writers’ Conference, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo Corporation. She holds a B.A. in Human Ecology and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Table of Contents

Origins of Violence 3


Threshold Gods 7

Rehearsal 9

Everything Is Restored 10

Death of a Child 11

The Gesture of Turning a Mask Around 15

Troubles 17

Spring 18

Encyclopedia of the Dead 19


The Sleeping Pig 23

The Traveling Line 24

The Belt 25

Notes on Pigs 26

Obstacles to Handling 27

Ears 28

The Farrowing Crate 29

Portrait of a Pig as a Bird 30

One-Way Gate 31

The Veld 32

Influence 33

Vision 34

First Day of Lent 35

The River 36

Vaudeville 37

Westward Expansion 38


New World 41

The Cave 42

Sword-Swallower 43

The Drowning 45

Winter Variations 46

Reprieve 47

The Dream of Reason

Self-Portrait 48

The Miniature Bed 49

Harvest 50

Sonnet for Lost Teeth 51

Talisman 52

On Waking 53

Eros 54

A Childhood 55

Revelation 56

Spring 57

Mnemonic 58

Intelligence 59

Easter 60

Notes 61

Acknowlegments 63

About the Author 65

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