Come the Slumberless To the Land of Nod
Author: Traci Brimhall
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press (2020)
Written during the trial for a close friend’s murder, Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod exposes that the whimsical, horrible, and absurd all sit together. In this ambitious fourth collection, Traci Brimhall corresponds with the urges of life and death within herself as she lives through a series of impossibilities: the sentencing of her friend’s murderers, the birth of her child, the death of her mother, divorce, a trip sailing through the Arctic. In lullaby, lyric essay, and always with brutal sincerity, Brimhall examines how beauty and terror live right alongside each other––much like how Nod is both a fictional dreamscape and the place where Cain is exiled for murdering Abel. By plucking at the tensions between life and death, love and hate, truth and obscurity, Brimhall finds what it is that ties opposing themes together; how love and loss are married in grief. Like Eve thrust from Eden, Brimhall is tasked with finding meaning in a world defined by its cruelty. Unrelenting, incisive, and tender, these poems expose beauty in the grotesque and argue that the effort to be good always outweighs the desire to succumb to what is easy.