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Topic: Suzanne Buffam

The Poetry of the Pillow: Suzanne Buffam’s A Pillow Book

At the turn of the tenth century, Sei Shōnagon, lady-in-waiting to the Japanese Empress, wrote her Pillow Book by candlelight. A fragmented collection of lists, anecdotes, and descriptions of daily life in court, she kept it in a drawer inside her pillow of polished bamboo. Suzanne Buffam’s A Pillow Book is a modern riff on Shōnagon’s work: lists, descriptions of dreams, scenes from her life, and bits of research on sleep and the history of pillows together form a funny, intimate and thoughtful meditation on insomnia.