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'Sleeping With One Eye Open'

Angela Kim

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Poet Mark Strand
(Courtesy Mark Strand)
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Mark Strand: I wrote "Sleeping With One Eye Open" in 1962.

I can't remember what I was thinking of. I mean the poem really is... it speaks to a certain anxiety I experienced back in the early '60s. I was afraid the United States would go to war with Russia or the USSR. I think it's a poem surrounded by a great deal of silence.

I haven't written a poem in two years -- although I keep writing. I have hundreds of notes and stray sentences, lines, ideas jotted down. But no finished poem. It usually takes me a long time to get anything done.

I accumulate pages and pages and pages and then spend the next -- after I have that -- maybe a year sorting everything out and connecting one page to another. One line to another line. It's just the way I work. I write longhand so I'm very slow... terribly slow.

  • Music Bridge:
    Artist: Takeshi Nishimoto
    CD: Monologue (Buro)


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  • By Lucio Fontana

    From Paris, 01/31/2010

    Apalling radio format. The "Have a Nice Day" presenter's voice is superficial, the acoustic guitar during Strand's short fascinating talk clichéd and disruptive. This "entertainment at all costs approach" won't get a nickel out of me or any more of my precious time.

    By saif /mr sniff Theman

    From rexdale, ON, 04/12/2008

    Rulez no commont and im mattt damon.
    Dwvante mitchell, housin, shaine, melisa, ihab,
    mustafa, abdullah, kyle alandra

    By matt damon

    From toronto, ON, 04/12/2008

    can you plese submit the poem for sleeping with one eye open plese! i need it for my 6 grade class project.

    By Mary Rose Sullivan

    From Sacramento, CA, 04/05/2008

    Thank you for the poetry segment with Mark Strand. Hearing him read his poetry connected me to the sanctuary inside I find when I'm half awake or moved as I was today. I'm grateful for his poems, for poetry month and for NPR!

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