The Insomniac’s Almanac is, as the name suggested, a book of poems for a year of sleeplessness, moving from January to December. The hybrid layout combines altered photographs of sleep with the poems, which are stark like the unsleeping night, and the whole collection has a real feeling of the middle of the night, of an uncertain time that people shouldn’t be awake for. Each poem ends with the sort of generic advice given to people with insomnia, really highlighting the gulf between clinical advice and the poetic exploration of dealing with insomnia.
One of my favourite poems in the book is ‘Cage & Kane’, the title a pun on the time, and the idea of being caught “between silence and psychosis” is a memorable image that lingers after the end of the collection. I also really enjoyed ‘Summer Night City’, which carefully paints a picture of a quiet, hot night, the sort of night you can’t help but feel the atmosphere of. This is a collection that feels like such a beautiful package, with the poems and images and general atmosphere all coming together to create a vivid portrait of insomnia and of the nighttime.
Note: as per the Kith Books page for the chapbook, “All proceeds from this chapbook will go to two charities that help provide that support: The Albert Kennedy Trust in the U.K. and The Trevor Project in the US”, and it is also possible to donate to other trans/queer organisations and still get a free copy, so take a look and donate!
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