A’s Dream

By Aaron Shurin


O Books
Original Language(s)
Edition, Year
Second Edition, 2010
In Print

A’s Dream is a collection of poems that follow a strict procedure: each one repurposes language from an existing literary work. The texts that these poems reimagine range from Shakespearean sonnets to Emma Goldman’s autobiography to the author’s own previously published works. The product is a wildly varied collection that examines selfhood in the context of tender, ecstatic physicality and love.

Aaron Shurin
Aaron Shurin is the author of twelve books of poetry and prose. His writing has appeared in over forty national and international anthologies, from the Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry to Italy's Read More

It seems essential to me in the age of AIDS, to keep the body forward, to keep the parts named, to not let ourselves get scared back into our various closets by those who would profit from sexual repression, from sublimation and fear of sex… I do of course propose safe sex—medically safe but not politically safe, not socially or even physically safe. And towards the day when the Human Immunodeficiency Viruses I and II are consigned to the dustbins of history, I’ll dream—with Whitman— “unscrew the locks from the doors!/ Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!”

— Aaron Shurin, Postscript to “City of Men”


Praise for A's Dream

Though Shurin’s procedure raises interesting questions about language as inheritance, originality, and so on, we don’t listen to Shurin’s poems to marvel at his ingenious use of a procedure. We listen because Shurin’s system is dissolved in language that shimmers with “unearthly majesty” as it addresses essential questions about the nature of self, the nature of language, the discovery of one’s own true face in a courageous act of loving.

Steve Silberman

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