Rebecca's Reviews > Insomnia: Poems

Insomnia by Linda Pastan
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really liked it
bookshelves: poetry, read-via-edelweiss, illness-and-death

Linda Pastan has been writing poetry for nearly half a century, so I feel sheepish admitting I’d never heard of her before I requested this book at random. I’m so glad I did, though: these are excellent free verse poems, infused with images of weather, heavenly bodies, the night sky, art history, and travels. No rhymes to speak of, but plenty of alliteration and repetition – like in “Necklace,” where nearly every line ends with “pearl” or “pearls.” Historical and mythological references are frequent and highbrow. Especially in Part 3, the main theme is facing old age and illness; one of my favorites in the whole collection is “MRI”:
Strapped down on my back
in a sci-fi spacecraft,
I wait, like an astronaut,
for liftoff. The mission:
to find the insidious comet
or meteor about to ruin
my hapless body.

Assaulted now
by sound (cymbals, cannons),
rat-tat-tat of firearms) and lost
in magnetic fields, I long
not for health but for simple quiet:
the storied silence
of outer space.

The final three poems are a perfect guide to approaching death with dignity. I’ll be sure to seek out more collections from Pastan.
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Reading Progress

May 15, 2015 – Started Reading
May 15, 2015 – Shelved
May 15, 2015 – Shelved as: poetry
May 15, 2015 – Shelved as: read-via-edelweiss
May 19, 2015 – Finished Reading
May 21, 2015 – Shelved as: illness-and-death

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