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Peter O'Leary

Poetry Archive
  Peter O'Leary
Peter O'Leary is the author of a book of poetry, Watchfulness (Spyten Duyvil) as well as a book of criticism, Gnostic
Peter O'Leary
Contagion: Robert Duncan & the Poetry of Illness (Wesleyan). As executor for the literary estate of Ronald Johnson, he has edited two collections of Johnson's poetry: To Do As Adam Did: Selected Poems (Talisman House) and The Shrubberies (Flood Editions). For more than a decade, he has edited, along with his brother Michael & Joel Felix, the literary magazine LVNG, which has the unusual distinction of being free. He lives in Chicago with his wife and son, and teaches at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Peter O'Leary
Sleepfulness... Genesis, rich narrative darkness.

I have dreamt the Abrahamic sacrifice, saw a plateful

of star-fire that was the world. Its human destiny. The serious

desert crossed. The scoff at God. The gore of love.

Like native sparrows working at dandelion seeds, beaks heralded

in fuzz (as God might have waved the flossy tegument of

syllables, initially, from his mouth), where are you headed?

What else could worship mean but

to remain? In the barren prairie. In the worldwide

            Gobi. In

the worst ice. All

is moved by awe—: Isaac, the comet. Which

do I take for an oracle? The dream that pins me to

my mattress, breathing irregularly in me, or the


of light—I manage into a tiny

oratory, symbolic altarpiece flaking with a bloodless

inky stain?

after Mandelstam

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