Today's poem is "The Undressing"
from Only the Senses Sleep

New Issues

Wayne Miller was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, studied at Oberlin College, and after working briefly in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, received an MFA from the University of Houston. He is the author of a chapbook, What Night Says to the Empty Boat (Notes for a Film in Verse), and the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and Poetry magazine’s Bess Hokin Prize. His poems have appeared in Boulevard, Chelsea, Crazyhorse, Epoch, FIELD, The Gettysburg Review, Hotel Amerika, LIT, The Paris Review, Poetry, Quarterly West, and Sycamore Review. He lives in Kansas City and teaches at Central Missouri State University, where he co-edits Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing.

About Only the Senses Sleep:

"In Only the Senses Sleep, the senses are fully awake much of the time, as Wayne Miller explores the world through defamiliarizing metaphor and shifts of perception; but the ‘half-seen’ emerges too, as the poet discovers ‘the possibility emptiness provides.’ In the frequent play of light and shadow, breath and air, surface and substance, the least embodied is often the most deeply experienced. ‘Sometimes the mouth of the world / opens,’ Miller says, ‘though at the last minute, / it always holds its tongue.’ That is often the moment when the poet most poignantly speaks to us in this wonderfully moving first book."
—Martha Collins

"Wayne Miller’s Only the Senses Sleep celebrates the transforming power of attention and distraction, as the perceived dissolves into memory and reverie. ‘Moving away from myself // and further into myself’ in a poetry both elegant and completely natural, ‘the mind keeps trying to arrive / at the other side of here,’ leaving it refreshed and exhilarated by the knowledge that ‘retreat // is also a kind of arrival.’"
—John Koethe

"‘We breathe light’—this epigraph, a quotation from James Wright placed over one of the poems, is a key to Wayne Miller’s poetry. His poems are meditations on light and shadow as they enter our lives—as our lives enter them. Only The Senses Sleep is the author’s first book—amazingly mature."
—Adam Zagajewski

"It’s often nighttime in these terrific poems, where sleep and poetry and desire sing a song of being. How worldly this song is too, graced by the likes of Trakl and Stieglitz and Sappho, and how intelligent and painterly its approach, with such atmosphere in every scene. What a pleasure to read Miller’s first book, and to recognize its wisdom, as though ‘every word I’ve read was in me before I read it.’ What a spectacular debut!"
—Alan Michael Parker

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