With Sunflowers As Her Guide, Poet Tunes In To Dream Life For Debut Collection Poet Jackie Wang's collection is a surrealist expression of how social processes and traumas show up in our dreams and how we can better understand ourselves by tuning in to them.

With Sunflowers As Her Guide, Poet Tunes In To Dream Life For Debut Collection

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You know, it's pretty rare that I remember a dream. Occasionally, an image survives, maybe a scene, rarely the whole plot. Jackie Wang, apparently, remembers more. She documented her dreams as the raw material for poems.

JACKIE WANG: Any time I'm going through a really difficult experience, I'm always trying to work it out in my dream life. Or I'm continually being haunted by certain waking experiences and then trying to figure out what to do with the dreams and what messages the dreams are sending me.


Wang says we should all pay attention to the symbols that show up in our dreams.

WANG: When quarantine just started, people were having dreams of invisible senses, of malignance and evil and disease kind of spreading and also bugs and vermin and fear of contagion.

KING: She, though, dreamed of sunflowers. And that inspired the title of her new book, "The Sunflower Cast A Spell To Save Us From The Void."

WANG: As a child, I grew sunflowers. They had always been a symbol of comfort.

INSKEEP: And Wang believes that by tuning into the symbols in their dreams, people can better understand themselves. Here she is reading an excerpt of her poem "Damnation."

WANG: (Reading) This sun will be our last song. It will come loud and crazy, bathing our arms in unbearable ringlets of light. And the light will be the break you will call, the only prayer intoned to wake you from the nightmare.


TRIATHALON: (Singing) I been thinking.

KING: Jackie Wang, author of the book of poems "The Sunflower Cast A Spell To Save Us From The Void."


TRIATHALON: (Singing) I been feeling.

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