Not a narrative. Not an essay. Not a shopping list. Not a song. Not a diary. Not an etiquette manual. Not a confession. Not a prayer. Not a secret letter sent through the silent Palace hallways before dawn. Making a daybook of oblivion, A Pillow Book leads the reader on a darkly comic tour through the dim-lit valley of fitful sleep. The miscellaneous memoranda, minutiae, dreamscapes, and lists that comprise this book-length poem disclose a prismatic meditation on the price of privilege; the petty grievances of marriage, motherhood, art, and office politics; the indignities of age; and the putative properties of dreams, among other themes, set in the dead of winter in a Midwestern townhouse on the eve of the end of geohistory. Feather-light in its touch, quixotic in its turns, and resolutely deadpan in its delivery, A Pillow Book offers a twenty-first-century response to a thousand-year-old Japanese genre which resists, while slyly absorbing, all attempts to define it.
About the author
Suzanne Buffam' first collection of poetry, Past Imperfect, won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for Poetry, was named a Globe and Mail "Top 100" Book of the Year, and was longlisted for the ReLit Award. She won the 1998 CBC Literary Award for Poetry and has twice been shortlisted for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry has appeared in various literary magazines and journals in the United States and Canada, including Books in Canada, Poetry, Jubilat, A Public Space, The Canary, The Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, and The Colorado Review. Her work has also appeared in the anthologies Language Matters, Breathing Fire: Canada's New Poets and Breaking the Surface. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the Master's program in English at Concordia University, she currently teaches Creative Writing at the University of Chicago.
Buffam’s pillow may not inspire sleep, but it does inspire smart, relevant writing.
Arc Poetry Magazine
Suzanne Buffam’s third poetry collection, A Pillow Book (House of Anansi), takes the reader into the haze-filled world of the insomniac, turning the half-muddled thoughts of sleepless-ness into irreverent, sharp and meditative poems.
A Pillow Book is one of the most finely controlled, subtly structured books of Canadian poetry in recent memory...
Globe and Mail