The Insomnia Poems
Published by Bloodaxe Books
In her latest collection, The Insomnia Poems, Grace Nichols explores those nocturnal hours when Sleep (the thief who nightly steals your brain) is hard to come by, and the politics of the day hard to shut out, never mind the lavender-scented pillow. Here memories of her own Guyana childhood mingle with the sleeping spectres of dreams and folk legends such as Sleeping Beauty. A lyrical interweaving of tones and textures invites the reader into the zones between sleep and no-sleep, between the solitude of the dark and the awakening of the light.
The Insomnia Poems is Grace Nichols's first new collection since Picasso, I Want My Face Back (2009). Neither that collection nor this one is included in her Bloodaxe retrospective, I Have Crossed an Ocean (2010).
‘Not only rich music, an easy lyricism, but also grit, and earthy honesty, a willingness to be vulnerable and clean’ – Gwendolyn Brooks.
‘Grace Nichols has wit, acidity, tenderness, any number of gifts at her disposal’ – Jeanette Winterson.
‘Grace Nichols came to Britain from Guyana at the age of 27 and she has carried the warmth of her Caribbean sensibility through many a cold English winter. Her poems celebrate sensuality and generosity and attack petty mean-spiritedness… Deeply Caribbean in sensibility, she writes sensitively of other traditions, especially Africa and India’ – Peter Forbes, Contemporary Writers.
‘From her first collection in 1983, I Is a Long Memoried Woman, she has been a strong presence in the linguistic interweave between the Caribbean and the UK. Her poetry and prose move easily between the poised world of Western culture, Old World history and myth, and the gritty rhythms of the Caribbean everyday… There is wit, irony and passion…real poise’ – Michelene Wandor, Poetry Review