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Sleep and What Precedes It, by Jasmine V. Bailey
The poems in Jasmine Bailey’s ‘Sleep and What Precedes It’ make an ‘argument for the eye’ (as Ruskin called it). They are unafraid of beauty, pleasure–‘the gleam of semi-permanence.’ They take the measure of the earth, ‘the heaviness of it, the meanderingness of it’ and achieve a wonder from seeing things in their firstness. The lushness of the horizontal axis is crossed by the vertical axis of history, exile, and an autumnal feeling. In the intersection of these two comes a poetry that has ‘all the ripe devotion of the created.’ It’s ardent, alert, and mindful. –Bruce Smith