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Waking Dreams

Donna L. Potts

ISBN: 978-1-907056-93-2

Page Count: 70

Publication Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cover Artwork: Charles Wright


About this Book

The poems in Waking Dreams explore the nature of dreams and the surrealistic aspects of daily experiences; the interplay between our dreaming and waking lives.  Whereas “dream” for the Anglo-Saxons was an ideal that one strove to attain, for the Vikings, it was a vision in sleep; the word still has both connotations, and Waking Dreams delves into the ways in which they continue to intersect.

“Don’t plan on sampling Donna Potts’ meticulously crafted narrative poems unless you are willing to be haunted by them. Their autobiographical and phantasmatic origins will raise uncanny echoes in every reader’s imagination.” Cary Nelson, President of the American Association of University Professors

"In Waking Dreams, Donna Potts proves herself to be a poet of all the talents. This collection is glorious in its variety and poem after poem so polished that one has to occasionally pause to remind oneself that this is in fact her debut collection. A fine nature poet, Potts is also on occasion both surrealist and satirist, as the occasion demands. It is fashionable these days for poets to feign concern for their fellow human beings, but with her stark midwestern wit and genuine identification with the underdog, Donna Potts is the real thing, a kind of folk poet for our, to date, pretty ghastly twenty first century. Her poems treat the stories they tell with great tenderness, but are also hugely intelligent." Kevin Higgins


Author Biography

Donna L. Potts was born and raised in the Ozarks—in Joplin, Missouri—and now lives in Manhattan, Kansas, where she teaches Old English, History of the English Language, Modern and Contemporary Poetry, and Irish Literature at Kansas State University. A Fulbright Lecturing award to the National University of Ireland in Galway (1997-98) provided her with more time to write, and she returned there on sabbatical in 2004-05. Although she has written extensively on the poetry of Howard Nemerov, Seamus Heaney, Moya Cannon, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and others, Waking Dreams is her first book of poetry.


Read a sample from this book

Cigar Box 

When my dad was a boy some old uncle 
gave him a cigar box full of pocket knives,
and he buried it in the backyard. 
Every time I go to my hometown and drive by
the place where the house used to be, 
I think of the box full of knives
and wonder if I could still uncover any sharpness,
if I could find the right place to dig and could force through 
the crazed earth to the clay below, could I recover the boy
with the impulse to bury everything he loved, 
who cocooned himself under the table
and fell asleep when fights broke between his parents
about letters from women that came while his dad was at war?


Cliffs of Moher

Black Cliffs,
white waves,
gales that throw us 
toward them.
You grab my hand 
and pull me from the path,
where we huddle until the wind dies.
I remember Iowa when I was your age,
wind so strong 
across the fields
I thought I’d blow away,
then dreamed I had.
Wind picks my up 
And carries me
until I learn to turn
abduction into flight:
My strong sure wings
take me over farmhouses
scattered like white chicklets,
gold and green chessboard fields,
toy cars grown too tiny to give fright.
I land safely in bed,
wake to remember
a world where winds
blow at my bidding.


Copyright Donna L. Potts 2012

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