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The Shape of the Journey

"This is poetry worth loving, hating, and fighting over." The New York Times Book ReviewHere is the definitive collection of poetry from one of America s best-loved writers now available in paperback. With the publication of this book, eight volumes of poetry were brought back into print, including the early nature-based lyrics of Plain Song, the explosive Outlyer & Ghazals, and the startling "correspondence" with a dead Russian poet in Letters to Yesenin. Also included is an introduction by Harrison, several previously uncollected poems, and "Geo-Bestiary," a 34-part paean to earthly passions. The Shape of the Journey confirms Jim Harrison s place among the most brilliant and essential poets writing today."Behind the words one always feels the presence of a passionate, exuberant man who is at the same time possessed of a quick, subtle intelligence and a deeply questioning attitude toward life. Harrison writes so winningly that one is simply content to be in the presence of a writer this vital, this large-spirited." The New York Times Book Review"(An) untrammelled renegade genius here s a poet talking to you instead of around himself, while doing absolutely brilliant and outrageous things with language." Publishers Weekly"Readers can wander the woods of this collection for a lifetime and still be amazed at what they find." Booklist (starred review.)When the cloth edition of this book was first published, it immediately became one of Copper Canyon Press s all-time bestsellers. It was featured on Garrison Keillor s Writer s Almanac, became a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was selected as one of the "Top-Ten Books of 1998" by Booklist.Jim Harrison is the author of dozens of books, including Legends of the Fall and In Search of Small Gods. He has also written numerous screenplays and served as the food columnist for Esquire magazine. He lives in Montana and Arizona.Dead DeerAmid pale green milkweed, wild clover, a rotted deer curled, shaglike, after a winter so cold the trees split open. I think she couldn't keep up with the others (they had no place to go) and her food, frozen grass and twigs, BR>"
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About the Author

Jim Harrison is the author of thirty books, including Legends of the Fall, Dalva, and Shape of the Journey. His work has been translated into two dozen languages and produced as four feature-length films. In 2007, Mr. Harrison was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He divides his time between Montana and southern Arizona.


Known for his fiction (Legends of the Fall; The Road Home; Wolf) and for his essays (Just Before Dark), Harrison has also been a prolific, ambitious poet. This expansive "new & collected" volume restores to print all his verse, from the lyrics and protest-poems of Plainsong (1965), through the effusive Letters to Yesenin (1973), the Zen-inspired After Ikkyu (1996), and the new miscellany of nature-verse and prose-poems Harrison calls "Geo-Bestiary." Harrison's works share a self-confident ease, a desire for simple lyricism and an unbuttoned, slouching, at-home feel; he conceives of poems as hikes, rambles, tours of his mind and his lands: "walking to Savage's Lake where I ate my bread/ and cheese, drank cool lake water and slept for a while." (The landscapes are often those of Northern Michigan, where Harrison lives.) In a sheaf of ghazals from 1971, Harrison's lyricism turns brilliantly campy, with distichs leaping and leaping like cats: "Yes yes yes it was the year of the tall ships/ and the sea owned more and larger fish." Later poems, reminiscent by turns of Gary Snyder, Robert Bly and Raymond Carver, specialize in diaristic noticing‘of trees, of drinking, of sex ("She offers a flex of butt, belly button, breasts")‘or else in quotable wisdom: "Even our hearts don't beat/ the way we want them to." But even these retain saving moments of flannel-clad, pine-forest camp: "I have to kill the rooster tomorrow. He's being an asshole,/ having seriously wounded one of our two hens with his insistent banging." (Nov.)

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