The Edge of Sleep

The Edge of Sleep


Leslie Gerber

Sample Poem


More of us working
in coal mines every day

walls closer
stuff we can’t get off our hands
out of our lungs

working harder
things breaking down
crushing us to blood

and more guys with Cuban cigars
looking down and smiling

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You show how the poet can disappear into the poem. A neat trick.
—Billy Collins
Leslie Gerber's poems are a stimulating mix of the wry, the broadly humorous, and the affectingly intimate. With scrupulous and affectionate attention he probes many of the ordinary corners of our lives, illuminating them in language that's direct, straightforward, unsentimental, without any showiness of language but with hard-earned self-awareness and without self-regard...Gerber's poems seem always alive to the complicated nature of the world. These are poems of genuine emotion gingerly handled, of grave knowledge carefully fashioned, and voiced with admirable and affecting lightness of touch. Although he calls his collection The Edge of Sleep these poems are the work of a wonderfully wide-awake imagination. —Eamon Grennan
Leslie Gerber’s collection is full of surprises. His best poems tend toward absurd openings–“The dogs are on strike” or “When I awoke this morning/I found my shoes were made of bread”–or openings of simple precision: “In the mountains of El Salvador/lives a young maiden/with three gold teeth/and one false eye.” It’s hard not to keep reading after receiving such invitations. They make us clear the calendar. They make us silence the phone. —Charles Rafferty, The Unleashable Dog