Coimpress
book

Dream Machine

Sade Murphy

Fall 2014

75 pages

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Dream Machine, Sade Murphy's debut collection of prose poems, is a catalog of violence and somnambulant obsessions. This numerological tour de force creates a dreamscape that reflects various violence-saturated landscapes, including physical, sexual, psychological, racial, and gendered. Among these, the speaker of the poems both enacts violence and receives it, and violence becomes a neutral tool, taking on the qualities of the body that wields it. Both excessive and inclusive, the collection probes the speaker's desire to hold order and chaos, good and evil—any false dichotomy—simultaneously in tension and in harmony. To disturb these oppositions, Murphy invents Him, an uncanny, destructive, confining—yet somehow alluring—presence to interrogate the male gaze and normative masculinity. In conjunction with the nightmare man and mother, Him completes a trifecta of forces, both real and symbolic, that the dreamer must navigate and extricate herself from to attain the freedom she seeks.

As globalized 21st-century citizens of massive material overload, there is no doubt we are intimate with our machines. But what about the machinations of dreams? In Dream Machine Sade Murphy leads us through fantastic panoramas fluid in their own methodical logic. We often take it for granted that machines are the official producers of the concrete in everyday life, but Murphy pulls the veil on that quaint old notion. Dreams, arguably the first assemblers, are solid helpmates in our layered realities lying just beyond the capitalist cloak.
—Nikki Wallschlaeger, author of I Would Be the Happiest Bird

From its opening "Post Prelude," Sade Murphy's Dream Machine authorizes its own impossible temporality, deploying at the beginning and the end of time simultanaeously. With the vatic directness of Notley's Alette, Murphy's speaker moves through a precarious world of surreal compression which might implode or scatter apart at any minute, releasing new gusts of force and light. With its frankness, its surreal beauty, its grief, its danger and its erudite wordplay, Murphy's Dream Machine configures a new strategy for the inmates of the 21st century: something like radiant survival.
—Joyelle McSweeney, author of Percussion Grenade

There is something saintly happening in this machine. Filled with fires and rainbows, Sade Murphy's Dream Machine is a world of extremes, of fear and ecstasy. Sade's language penetrates me like a religious text, but goes beyond the good vs. evil binary. In this world good and evil are not separate, but one in the same, and all housed inside the human body. Each poem is a thorn I lay in my bed. Each poem sticks into my backside until I bleed. Sade, you have made my bed. And I am choosing to lie in it.
—Christine Shan Shan Hou, author of Food Cuts Short Cuts