The Sleep of Reason
Morri Creech's third collection of poems, The Sleep of Reason, is a lyrical examination of liminal states of consciousness and experience – the shadowy terrain between sleep and waking, dream and nightmare, life and death, history and the present moment. Including both a surprising take on Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale" and a dark meditation on the perils of the sublime, The Sleep of Reason explores the anxieties, horrors, and dreams that flash just beneath the surface of the waking mind, combining formal elegance and an acknowledgment of literary tradition with a fresh, contemporary voice.
Published on March 1st, 2013 from Waywiser Press
A book of masterly poems that capture the inner experience of a man in mid-life who is troubled by mortality and the passage of time, traditional themes that are made to feel new.-- Pulitzer Prize Committee
2014 Pulitzer Prize
Finalist in Poetry
Praise for The Sleep of Reason
Poetry readers who have encountered Creech's Field Knowledge and Paper Cathedrals will be intrigued by this third book. While he declares in "The Dream of Reason," one of the book's opening poems, "Dust spins its bedlam universe/ in my mind for days. I'm tired of certainties," there's a wondrous sense of logic to the entire enterprise. Yes, Creech tosses out challenges ("What should we say of them, these lush, moon-scented/ blossoms that memorialize the light?"), turning over hard questions as he registers frustration with the human detritus of banks, businesses, and weapons of war, but he finally comes back to the surety and beauty of the universe ("Better to dwell on other things--/ the moon-slicked river, osprey wings/ rowing across the empty air"). What's especially impressive is Creech's sense of pacing and musicality, lost in some contemporary poetry; lines like "At daybreak light falls/ through a thin gap in the curtains/ like meaning drawn tight on a shivering thread" reveal a lovely mastery of craft. VERDICT A poet to watch and, for poetry devotees, certainly to read.
By Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
“There are a great many more formalists in or just ahead of Creech’s contingent ... but perhaps none combines gravity and grace as he does. Throughout, there is a use of the European poetic tradition that is as gratifying and profound as it is assured. This man’s good.” – Ray Olson, Booklist