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Poetry Canadian

Sleep of Four Cities, The

by (author) Jen Currin

Anvil Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2005
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2005
    List Price

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"There hasn't been a debut like this since Margaret Atwood's The Journals of Susannah Moodie." (Arc Poetry)

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.

Praise for The Sleep of Four Cities:

"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... " (Arc Poetry)

"In The Sleep of Four Cities, you can let Currin's language take you down alleys, over bridges and through gates, without a destination, and you are overtaken by surprise and variety." (BC BookWorld)

"'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)

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

About the author

Poems by Jen Currin have appeared in numerous North American journals, including: The Fiddlehead, Mudfish, The Massachusetts Review, Diner, subTerrain, The Mississippi Review, and Washington Square. In 2002, Mark Levine awarded her second place in River City's annual poetry contest. Her chapbook Ten Poems/Eleven Years was published by Breeds Like A Rumrunner (Vancouver, 2004). Her most recent collection, Hagiography, won Winnow Press's 2005 Open Book Award. A graduate of Bard College and Arizona State University's MFA program, Jen currently teaches creative writing at the Vancouver Film School and for Langara College's Continuing Education program. While at ASU, she served as both assistant editor and poetry editor of Hayden's Ferry Review from 1999-2002. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Jen currently lives in Vancouver, BC, where she is a member of the poetry collective vertigo west.

Jen Currin's profile page

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