Wake Up and Dream fluctuates between bipolarities: diurnal consciousness and REM sleep, the self-deprecatingly personal and the politically messianic. The poet confesses to being an “effete capitalist,” made happy by something so bourgeois as wisteria in his own backyard—only to snap suddenly out of it and proclaim that “Each word I speak to my life is an affirmation … Each step I take is a determination of justice … In the fierce shadow of the marketplace / We are on our way up!” But, inevitably, despair soon swings down: “… poets have surrendered / Our craft to the totalitarian regime.” The macrocosm crumbles in on the micro, and the poet becomes drunk and unmanageable. He waxes confessional: “Wrapped in fog / No matter where I am / There is no connection … I can’t remember / what I used to know.…” But this book is an elemental wave, after all, surfed by the momentum of poetry itself. As “The eye continues its liquid journey / across the chemical mind,” we are exhorted to “Wake up and dream, wake up and dream …”
Praise for Wake Up and Dream
Michael Rothenberg is a poet, editor and publisher of the online literary magazine BigBridge.org, co-founder of 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100tpc.org), and co-founder of Poets In Need, a non-profit 501(c)(3), assisting poets in crisis. Born in Miami Beach, Florida in 1951, Rothenberg moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1975 and co-founded Shelldance Orchid Gardens in Pacifica, which is dedicated to the cultivation of orchids and bromeliads. While in Pacifica, he helped lead local environmental actions that stopped major coastal developments that would destroy wildlife habitat.
He has published 20 books of poetry, including Nightmare of The Violins, Favorite Songs, Man/Women (a collaboration with Joanne Kyger), Unhurried Vision, Monk Daddy, The Paris Journals, Choose, My Youth As A Train, and Murder. His most recent books of poetry include Sapodilla (Editions du Cygne–Swan World, Paris, France, 2016) and Drawing The Shade (Dos Madres Press, 2016). Bilingual editions of Indefinite Detention: A Dog Story, and the collection of poetic journals Tally Ho and The Cowboy Dream/The Real and False Journals: Book 5 is due out from Varasek Ediciones, Madrid, Spain, in fall 2017.
His work has been published widely in literary reviews and included in anthologies such as Ecopoetry: A Contemporary American Anthology, edited by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street (Trinity University Press), 43 Poetas por Ayotzinapa, edited by Jesús González Alcántara and Moisés H. Cortés Cruz (Mexico), Saints of Hysteria, A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry, edited by David Trinidad and Denise Duhamel (Soft Skull Press), Hidden Agendas/Unreported Poetics, edited by Louis Armand (Litteraria Pragensia), and For the Time-Being: The Bootstrap Book of Poetic Journals, edited by Tyler Doherty and Tom Morgan (Bootstrap Productions).
Rothenberg’s editorial work includes several volumes in the Penguin Poets series: Overtime by Philip Whalen, As Ever by Joanne Kyger, David’s Copy by David Meltzer, and Way More West by Edward Dorn. Rothenberg is also editor of The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen, published by Wesleyan University Press (2007).
In 2016, Rothenberg moved back to Florida. He currently lives on Lake Jackson in Tallahassee, Florida, with his partner Terri Carrion and their two dogs, Ziggy and Puma.
Wake Up and Dream
by Michael Rothenberg
$21.95, paperback, 104pp