Finalist for the NCIBA’s Northern California Book Award in Poetry, 2017
Jean Day’s Daydream is a poetic interrogation, from the vantage point of a sonically minimalist and language-oriented form, of one’s position in a world of simultaneous brutality, absurdity, and profundity. Situated in the time of the oil wars, poems from Daydream meditate on the pleasures and anxieties of the mundane—idleness that nonetheless feels global reverberations of accelerated mortality lapping at its edges. Jean Day invents a poetic dream-logic with which to tenderly probe the realities of waking life. The day itself is a dream of a body, a personhood, and a planet to which we cling fast, if poorly, as we hurtle into the unknown.
Praise for Daydream
For Day the poet, both world and lexicon come fully equipped; writing the poems, she encounters plethoras and embraces them, with stoic acceptance and realist skepticism. It is these that set the pace for these reveries and scintillations, and these that establish the volume’s complex, restless mood. Questions are raised, doubts are entertained (and entertaining). Humor flashes, as does pathos, both piqued by conditions and contents of the world and by words that make stabs at referring to them. And all the while, judgment is withheld. It is this refusal to judge, the refusal to curtail encounter and response, that serves as the activist principle—the reality principle—propelling the works of Daydream. This book is both provocative and miraculous.
— Lyn Hejinian
Jean Day’s Daydream is brilliantly astute, imaginative, and keen—let us not be “deaf to its obvious aptness.” Day’s discerning eye-mind upturns the world we think we live in by pondering and questioning and inviting the reader to share in the pleasure of “beautiful problems, which / arise as toughened thought.” This attention, curiosity, and reverent regard for our everyday surrounds—here local, there global—is the book’s tuning fork. Daydream makes a meal “amid the nutritionless corn” of daily modern life. Where “So / much flowering is imitation,” Day’s writing blooms singularly.
— Alli Warren
“A bird shouldn’t whinny/ should it? Nature prefers/ certain limits,” Jean Day writes in Daydream, a feast of thinking that lays such limits out across its table as a main course. With a linguistic wit as punchy as Glen Baxter’s, and an unparalleled sensitivity to American dictions that leaves some howling, some weeping, and others forever lost in thought, Day’s poems have always tickled the early bird of English until it learned to whinny tomorrow’s whinny. Never a misstep, Daydream is just what its title promises: the stuff of reverie—that improbable book we have all, in some moment of exasperation with language, dreamt of finding, that we might hold it like fire under the feet of poetry itself.
— Kit Schluter