Harrison

One of the many unexpected gifts that has come to me from blogging these last three years is connecting with like-minded people who I would never have met with just my physical presence as a vehicle. One of the best networkers I know writes a blog called Virgin in the Volcano and it was through VV that I met the poet Leslie Harrison.

Harrison’s first book of poems, Displacement, came out this year. As the winner of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize, Harrison has been published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and was chosen for the prize by Eavan Boland who also wrote the foreword.

Here’s a taste of Boland’s experience with the work:

Much of the charm and music of this book for me—and I believe for other readers—must have to do with this unabashed contradiction between a voice that has found its place in the poem, and a life that will not find an equivalent ease in the world…

There is a poise and presence about this book—and a poignance about its traffic between secrecy and disclosure—that allow it to have unusual force, and a true grip on its reader. This is a real lyric journey: and the reader will take it too.

I have had Displacements on my bedstand for the last week. Like most good art, her poems just gets better the more I give myself over to the experience. And as I have been reading them for several days now, I can already feel how my insides are getting rearranged.

Here’s one of my favorites. If it rings for you, spring for the whole kit and kaboodle.

The Day Beauty Divorced Meaning*

Their friends looked shocked—said not
possible, said how sad. The trees carried on
with their treeish lives—stately except when
they shed their silly dandruff of birds. And
the ocean did what oceans mostly do—
suspended almost everything, dropped one
small ship, or two. The day beauty divorced
meaning, someone picked a flower, a flight,
a flight. Someone got on a boat.
A closet lost its suitcases. Someone
was snowed in, someone else on. The sun
went down and all it was, was night.

* This poem was originally published in Pool: A Journal of Poetry.

To read another poem by Harrison posted here last March, click here.

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