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 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.
Traci Brimhall reads “How to Write a Love Poem” from Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod:
“The questions posed by this stunning collection will remind readers of their own mortality, while reawakening the power and fury within them.” —Publishers Weekly starred review
“With each successive book, there’s even more grandness to Brimhall’s narrative voice. She writes with a commanding sense, with some poems feeling like the voice beaming to Job, and other poems arriving like a hypnotizing whisper at night… Another masterful book from one of our finest poets.” —The Millions
“Traci Brimhall’s Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod unfurls like a series of dispatches from the shores of grief, and then the burning wildfire of divorce. …[H]er poems feel as intimate as a handwritten letter.” —John Freeman, Literary Hub
“Brimhall’s style is part brutal directness and liquid elegance… [P]repare to be bewitched until the journey ends at the approach of lightness and hope.” —The Arkansas International
“Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod is an exploration of myth, but that is too simple—at its heart, the book asks us to investigate the myths we make of our own lives, our own fantasies. It also asks us to keep space for them… That is the beauty of these poems. They look us dead in the heart, and forgive us all our sins.” —Green Mountains Review