The Novice Insomniac

Emily Warn

In her second book, Emily Warn explores the multi-shaded ways of being during the latter stages of the millennium. Whether invoking the persona of Esther to examine Jewish culture, musing upon the threatened landscape of her native Northwest, or witnessing the frustration of the insomniac’s darkened domain, her poems offer solace to what is most vulnerable in this world. Finding a voice for those who live in the margins of society, she creates a world of anxious wakefulness and exaggerated reality, a world where the silence of wilderness echoes the individual’s own grief, loneliness, and even love. Fourteen years in the making, The Novice Insomniac represents a poet whose vision is at once mature and refreshingly new.

ISBN: 9781556591129

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Emily Warn’s latest book is Shadow Architect. Her previous books include The Leaf Path and The Novice Insomniac; she has also published two chapbooks, The Book of Esther and Highway Suite. Her poems and essays appear widely in such publications as Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Bookforum, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Blackbird, Jacket2, and Narrative. She is a former Stegner Fellow and founding editor of She teaches at the Richard Hugo House and has taught previously at Lynchburg College and the …

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“Warn moves smoothly into a group of Kaddish poems for her father, then brings us a series of poems about an aging woman who observes the passing of her life and emerges as the biblical Esther—a crone goddess.” —Library Journal

“In her second full-length book of poems, Emily Warn composes out of her day-to-day experience, her Judaic heritage and knowledge of Native American myth—in a language of exile and return—a midrash of her own… This courageous book, which maps both a process of liberation and a renewed conviction, is guaranteed to challenge and inspire any disciple of poetry.” —Parabola

“Ms. Warn’s poetry is made vivid by the spiritual connections she makes with nature—connections she melds with her impressions of Jewish history.” —Jewish Times

“From the acute clarity and inventiveness of the title poem, through the litanies and narrative riffs intoning Queen Esther and her many namesakes in the shtetls and death camps of Europe, concluding on a dazzling series of love poems centered in memory and landscape, Emily Warn’s book pays rapt attention to the tangled and abundant worlds of uncertainty and faith.” —Colette Inez