SLEEP BARN | Nancy Dymond
If you fell asleep in a barn next to a Magic 8 Ball, you might dream these astonishing poems. Sleep Barn seduces you into daydreams, nightmares and those reveries that vanish upon waking. You've been on this journey too, but Nancy is an alchemist who makes "sonnets from pain." The ecstatic unknowable seems familiar. Words dazzle like fireflies, ephemeral and bright. Nancy has stored up the indelible and unraveled it like a flying carpet. She's going around the corner, then she's going to Mars. The sillage lingers and you are sure that she has been here. — Lisa Ozag
Nancy Dymond is a highly accomplished poet, true to the spirit of her time. In her new, must-read collection, Sleep Barn, her poems sing of the hum-drum, often nagging, quirkier aspects of our lives, and in so doing, turn them into rainbows. — Thomas Lisenbee, author of Three from Osage Street
Nancy Dymond's debut collection of poetry, Sleep Barn, very much follows the strand of modern American poetry. Like Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Donald Hall and others, the poet finds beauty in everyday subject matter, including pumpkins, antique shops, and winter pastoral scenes. Though several of the poems employ traditional forms and meters, the poet's range is as expansive as her subject matter. This is an impressive debut collection, one that explores the larger world and natural history, but also, at times, finds the poet turning inside to dig deep and understand family roots. This book is the perfect blend of the interior and exterior. — Brian Fanelli, author of Front Man and All That Remains
These provocations, more real than reality, are slippery, elusive. The poet is left, at the end of [the title poem] “Sleep Barn,” with “Just a memory of a barn whose / Urgency seeps away on a blue sky day.” And the impression one gets, especially in reading many of the early poems in the book, is of a desire to escape the hidden perils that might arise from close examination of experience.
In “Home Body” Dymond returns to the relationship between dream and reality established by the title poem. Speaking in both first and third person, she imagines herself and what might be called a universal human body rooted, in an early evolutionary phase, in the nurturing depths of a life-giving host. Concerned in this phase only with survival, the double narrator, still a 'child,' remains oblivious to the demands of consciousness. Waking now, however, to the sound of birth cries, the narrator begins to consider an “undesired leaving.”
From one perspective, Dymond's poems can be seen as birth cries that signal the emergence of a fragile poetic voice. In the final poem of the book (“Free Poetry”), her words are seen as newly-hatched turtles – each perhaps a world unto itself – able to survive only by outrunning a host of enemies, and her voice becomes an instrument that “[smooths] a path to the sea.”
— Karen Elias in The Main Street Rag: Volume 21, Number 2, Spring 2016