"One of the most moving meditations on aging, living, and dying I've ever read. These poems will befriend, comfort, and delight you. Something very magical happens as Coleman Barks overlays dreaming and waking life . . . memory and present . . . you can taste these poems while reading them."
—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Transfer
"[Coleman Barks] wants to tell us what's on his mind: what he has seen, what he has read, what he has overheard. . . . He tells of all these things with sly good humor and the sure voice of the born raconteur and the eminent poet. . . . There is no distance here, no cynicism, no remove between Barks and his reader. No mythology. This is a conversation about anything and everything, carried on over a cup of coffee or a beer. Hummingbird Sleep is a love-letter and a meditation, laced with mortality, humility and naked wonder, well worth reading and rereading. Though Coleman Barks doesn't know me, I now know him, and I am glad to know he's my neighbor."
"In this collection, [Barks] juxtaposes the ideas of the mystics Gregory of Nyssa, Rainer Maria Rilke, Rumi, and other noted philosopher-poets against such everyday images as basketball, fishing, and sitting by a creek. The result is a quiet, sometimes humorous examination of the meanings of identity, language, and perception."
The poems in Hummingbird Sleep move associatively between Coleman Barks's personal experience and his extensive reading, weaving together a wild and eclectic range of material. A discussion of Plotinus, Barks's appearance on PBS NewsHour, a note Keats once left on Wordsworth's mantelpiece, a splinter in the heel, and a quote from the Upanishads-all make their way into Barks's most recent poems, which achieve intimacy and expansiveness at the same time.
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