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Learning to Sleep By John Burnside

Learning to Sleep by John Burnside

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Learning to Sleep Summary

Learning to Sleep by John Burnside

Lucid, lyrical and intellectually profound: this collection of poems resonates with real life and death, but mostly what falls in between: the charmed darkness.

Several ghosts haunt Learning to Sleep, John Burnside's first collection of poetry in four years - from the author's mother, commemorated in an exquisitely charged variant on the pastoral elegy, to the poet Arthur Rimbaud, who wanders an implausible Lincolnshire landscape looking for some sign of belonging. Throughout the book, the powers and dominions of a lost pagan ancestry emerge unexpectedly through the gaps in contemporary life: half-seen and fleeting, but profoundly present. Behind it all, the figure of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, marks Burnside's own attempts to come to terms with the severe sleep disorder from which he has suffered for years, a condition that culminated in the recent near-death experience that informs the latter part of the book. Add to this a series of provocative meditations on the ways in which we are all harmed by institutions, from organised religion, or marriage, to the tawdry concepts of gender and romantic love that subtly govern our personal lives, and Learning to Sleep reveals Burnside at his most elegiac, while still retaining a radical pagan's sense of celebration and cultural independence.

Learning to Sleep Reviews

A masterful storyteller... I'm in safe hands whenever I pick up a book by him. -- Jen Campbell * The Times, on ASHLAND & VINE *
As a poet, Burnside has peripheral vision: he is always glimpsing other worlds out of the corner of his eye... Never stops registering the ways in which beauty makes life worth living. -- Kate Kellaway * Observer, on STILL LIFE WITH FEEDING SNAKE *
Few writers manage distinction in even one form. John Burnside has achieved it in two [poetry and fiction]... A Burnside narrative stays in the mind like a half-broken dream; it's often hard to pin down just why it is so compelling... If you have hitherto admired John Burnside in only one genre, now is the time to take the smallest of sideways steps and read both. -- Fiona Sampson * New Statesman, on ASHLAND & VINE and STILL LIFE WITH FEEDING SNAKE *

About John Burnside

John Burnside is amongst the most acclaimed writers of his generation. His novels, short stories, poetry and memoirs have won numerous awards, including the Geoffrey Faber Memorial prize, the Whitbread Poetry Award, the Encore Award and the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year. In 2011, Black Cat Bone won both the Forward and the T.S. Eliot Prizes for poetry. A judge for the Booker prize in 2015, he is a professor in the School of English at Saint Andrews University.

Additional information

NGR9781787332348
9781787332348
1787332349
Learning to Sleep by John Burnside
New
Paperback
Vintage Publishing
20210805
80
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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Customer Reviews - Learning to Sleep