Poetry. LGBT Studies. BC Poetry in Transit selection (poem displayed on Vancouver city buses). Poems from THE SLEEP OF FOUR CITIES selected as Poems of the Day on US websites Verse Daily and Poetry Daily. Powered by lush imagery and lyricism, the poems in THE SLEEP OF FOUR CITIES use the city as a metaphor for the complexity of self. This book invites the reader to take a journey through multiple cities—cities of memory, of desire, of imagination, of discovery, of loss—with only the map of language as a guide. The cities in this book are not always easily unlocked—they are at once tangible and invisible; they exist both inside and outside the speakers of the poems. Throughout the book, these speakers seek to discover what is within their grasp and what, like water, will slip through their fingers.
"She has created an enchanted universe—where senses quiver, and colors are so saturated, they're almost hallucinogenic. But beauty draws the reader close, only to plunge into emotional risk: everything is transient and uncertain. Even nostalgia is uncomfortable, like 'working…a new glove,' as if memories had arrived in the wrong size…There's no complacency here; Currin's bold lyric poems startle readers awake."—Foreword Reviews
"Currin's poetry attends us, lighting the ball at midnight, where first love and first terror are arm-in-arm, waiting in their figurative, gesticulating disguises to welcome us to a primitive happiness."—Rain Taxi Review of Books
"Jen Currin's THE SLEEP OF FOUR CITIES comes into Canadian poetry with the same electric intimacy as Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon brought to the drawing rooms of Europe a century ago, and with a similar omnipresent dimensionality burning on the shore between touch and cognition. Currin's poems are reminiscent of Don Domanski's or John Ashberry's, except that with Currin's every link between every seemingly random image is precisely contained by a rigorous set of story-telling rules. Think Marilyn Bowering's Autobiography meets Erin Mouré in a gallery of brilliantly coloured painterly surfaces with their roots in wisdom literature and folk-tale magic, and you have a hint of it. With this volume, an entire tradition, with its roots in Latin American and Eastern European poetry, all shaped with the rigour of the New York School in which Currin trained, has the potential to inspire and define a generation. There hasn't been a debut like this since Margaret Atwood's The Journals of Susannah Moodie…"—A rc Poetry
"'My mask hangs by a threat,' writes Jen Currin, and indeed an air of menace suffuses these brilliantly erotic and dangerous poems. Currin is a startling new talent who bears watching."—John Ashbery
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About the Author
Jen Currin was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and did her schooling at Bard College and Arizona State University. She has published three collections of poetry, THE SLEEP OF FOUR CITIES (Anvil Press, 2005), HAGIOGRAPHY (Coach House, 2008), and THE INQUISITION YOURS (Coach House, 2010). She currently lives in Vancouver, where she teaches creative and academic writing.