Assembling the Morrow
A Poetics of Sleep
Even though we spend a third of our lives asleep, the behaviour remains largely a mystery. Sandra Huber’s first book, Assembling the Morrow: A Poetics of Sleep, assumes that any attempt to solve this mystery requires new modes of experimentation. What happens when the line of a Berger’s wave (an electroencephalography recording of brainwaves in sleep) turns into a line of poetry, an act of focused consciousness?
The earliest readings of the sleeping brain, captured by EEGs in the 1930s, revealed that sleep is as active and lively as its daytime counterpart, not simply a passive state that naturally ensues when wakefulness ceases. Sleep not only assimilates the day that’s passed, but also looks forward, assembling what’s to come. To engage this concept, Huber sculpts a long poem onto the neural oscillations of sleep, in order to explore what is beneath them both: the conscious organism, the writer, and the written. In the field of the poem, where sleep is traditionally a metaphor for death, the idea that to be awake is to be alive is put to the test in a new kind of writing that invites a new kind of being.
Prefaced by a discussion on poetry, the science of sleep, and those who have sought a language of consciousness – from Hans Berger to Gertrude Stein – Assembling the Morrow proposes that entering the mystery of sleep requires a radical reframing of our biases on what it means to be conscious.