Lovescaleb asked Margaret Atwood:

What was the inspiration for your poem "Variation on the Word Sleep?" Did you dream it? I love this poem above all others because of the connection one desires in a relationship. Is the poem about a connection with your lover or is it about a toxic obsession?

Margaret Atwood Hello: That's a lot of questions! I think it could be about anyone you love. The imagery comes from a number of "dream vision" sources, including
a Grimms' folktale, a poem of William Blake, and the version of a descent to the Underworld from Virgil. But these are all, in themselves, deep "dream" images.
Margaret Atwood

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