In the Cities of Sleep is a collection of poems centered on the ramifications of a warming world, a world where not only the climate is changing but also the social contract as regions and nations vie for resources and civil unrest gives way to wars. Elizabeth C. Herron’s poems ask that we look hard enough to see beyond what is happening to what we might do to change our current trajectory.
In this haunting and passionate collection, Herron reminds us that we are “out of season,” caught as we are in this fateful sweep of time where everything from the minute to the galactic speaks of our temporality. The splendor of her poetic line underlines the fragile beauty of the world we now inhabit and its imminent loss if we fail to see our own hand in its erasure.
Greg Mahrer, author of A Provisional Map of the Lost Continent, 2016 Poets Out Loud Prize winner, Fordham University Press
Enter In the Cities of Sleep and be altered. See with Herron’s eyes, feel with her body, understand with her keen mind and exquisite sense of the erotic beauty of the world. Implicit in bearing witness to the impacts of climate change is a critical question: Will we protect that beauty? As a full-time climate activist for more than twenty years, I give my highest praise to this collection.
Ann Hancock, co-founder and executive director of the Climate Center, 2001–2019
Elizabeth Herron’s latest collection takes the reader on an emotional and heartfelt journey through some of today’s most pressing issues. From devastating fires to the impossible realities plaguing refugees, to the perpetual pandemic, Herron draws the reader in, asking us to reflect and to be present through her work. This collection is beautifully and devastatingly written—a sliver of hope its final gift.
Dr. Arwa Alsamarae, MD, poet and ophthalmologist
Herron allows everything to enter the poems of In the Cities of Sleep. In it, she renders a portrait of multitudes: gentle, riotous, grisly, sacred, soft, cacophonic, fleeting, and forever. As she paints the page with paradox, she calls us to listen to the heartbeat of the world, our home.
Katherine Kassouf Cummings, managing editor at the Center for Humans and Nature, co-editor of What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be?
After reading In the Cities of Sleep and loving it, also taking it very seriously, I know if I’d seen it when I was younger, I would have tried to write poetry.
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of Reindeer Moon, The Animal Wife, The Hidden Life of Dogs, and Growing Old
Author of three previous books of poetry, Elizabeth C. Herron also writes articles about the importance of natural systems in the well-being of all life. The Mesa Refuge for Writers, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Foundation for Deep Ecology have supported her work. She is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers and lives with her husband in a village on the edge of the Atascadero marsh in Northern California where she is the Poet Laureate of Sonoma County (2022 to 2024).