PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
PNR266 Now Available
The latest issue of PN Review is now available to read online. read more
Most Read... Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Next Issue Stav Poleg Running Between Languages Jeffrey Meyers on Mr W.H. (Auden) Miles Burrows The Critic as Cleaning Lady Timothy Ades translates Brecht, Karen Leeder translates Ulrike Almut Sandig
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This report is taken from PN Review 152, Volume 29 Number 6, July - August 2003.

A Day from Sleep: (1) Coming To Raymond Tallis

(1) Coming To

I would have liked to have begun by describing my passage from sleep and so I am disappointed, though not surprised, to find that I can't. Capturing waking is like trying to recall one's recovery from the confusions, inadequacies and incompetencies of childhood. Granted, awakening should be an easier story to tell. For a start, it's a bit nearer in time. I woke a few hours ago, while I left my childhood in the middle of the last century. What's more, I repeat awakening on a daily basis. Even so, capturing emergence from sleep is more difficult than writing a Bildungsroman because the changes to be documented are more profound.

The problem in both cases, however, is similar. First, the continuity of the change makes the process as formless, and hence as elusive, as fog thinning to mist. Secondly, observation of selves (as of elementary particles), interferes with the observed. You can't creep up on your own untwilighting with binoculars, pen, or Dictaphone. The act of recording takes you a long way away from the state that is to be recorded. Thirdly - and most importantly - you are no longer the person you have changed from - the one who was in the process of waking up. Striving to recall what it is like awakening from sleep is like trying to access files on a continually reformatting disc using an operating system that bootstrapping makes obsolete.

The employment of ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image