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Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press; Reprint edition (August 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556593198
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556593192
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Harrison (Legends of the Fall) has over decades won a durable following for verse and fiction about the wild places, solitudes and the exhilarations of the American West. This 12th book of verse gives familiar, quotable rural pleasures—solitude, ease, forests and big skies—along with a new focus on the poet's advancing years. I keep waiting without knowing/ what I'm waiting for, Harrison says in Age Sixty-Nine; in that waiting, he adds, on local earth my heart/ is at rest as a groundling. In low-pressure free verse, and in the prose poems that make up half the volume, Western American landscapes and beasts soar and roam off the page. (Mexican places and people, unfortunately, do not: they are leaden stereotypes.) People, for Harrison, are beasts as well, marine organisms at the bottom of the ocean/ of air. Paying homage to instinct, loyalty, memory and a companionable ferocity, Harrison finds his best subjects, often enough, in dogs. I know dog language fairly well, he explains, but then dogs hold a little back from us because we don't know their secret names given them by the dog gods. Barking brings the poet closer to the canine kingdom still: I was a dog on a short chain, he complains, and now there's no chain. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Harrison’s welcoming poems are musings, prayers, vignettes, and fragments of a self-deprecating self-portrait-in-progress. Hoping to avoid the “numbers game of time and money,” the calendared, to-do-list life, he migrates like a bird, walks with his beloved dogs, watches the sun ignite water, and listens to the music of rain. Funny and tender beneath a wry and gruff seen-it-all veneer, Harrison contemplates death, discerns divinity in every stone and leaf, and nobility in ordinary lives, and laughs at our attempts to separate ourselves from the rest of nature. Bears, snakes, cats, a goat in a cemetery, a tree, a spring, all carry memories and messages, if only we could decipher them. In his seventh decade and thirtysomething book, Harrison, writing with more force and lucidity than ever, performs a cosmic soft-shoe beneath the shape-shifting moon, then lifts his head and howls to mark the pain and suffering all around us, from the house down the road to the blasted cities of Iraq. “The gift of the gods / is consciousness,” Harrison declares, and we’d best cherish life’s perpetual metamorphosis. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Treat yourself to reading one or two of the poems each day to make the collection last.
Soren Petrek
Mr. Harrison paints words with a myriad of color... His insight into nature and the translation is superb.
Jack K. Holcomb
If you are not familiar with Jim Harrison, I can recommend reading this book without reservation.
Ian Sturgill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Kodiak B. on June 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When you read this brilliant book, don't ignore the acknowledgements section. (Yes, I even read the copyright page...) What you'll discover is that poems from this book have been published in a dizzying range of publications, including the canonical "Poetry," the radical "Earth First! Journal," Garrison Keillor's folksy "Writer's Almanac," and the needs-no-introduction "Playboy." These publications suggest many of Harrison's themes: art, nature, the joys of physical bodies rubbing against each other (or not!), not to mention the intention of the title: the active search for small gods. For Harrison, the small gods--and the evidence of the gods--are animals, plants, birds, a remote spring in the woods, the charge one feels walking into a secret canyon. One particularly beautiful poem is "I Believe," which begins "I believe in steep drop-offs..." and goes on to enumerate the many things that the poet believes, including leaky wooden boats, brush piles, and "the fluttering of unknown gods that I nearly see / from the left corner of my blind eye." The book itself is organized into three sections, the center section being a collection of densely imaginative prose poems. I've read all of Harrison's thirty-some books (fiction, poetry, essays, memoir), and it's the poetry I return to again and again. "In Search of Small Gods" has earned a permanent place in my library.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By K. E. S. on July 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In my opinion Harrison's prose has always been poetry so it seems natural he should write beautiful touching poetry. I believe he has said before that poetry should not be truly understood; this book touches my soul and my heart and remains enigmatic. I live in Montana and am drawn to the land here as I am his poetry.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Gemmill on February 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jim Harrison is one of our most versatile writers and this book of poems is no exception. His prose poems range from the hysterically funny -- like his impersonating a famous physiologist to gain access to the world's fastest female runner -- to the stream-of-consciousness style of "Advice." Those small gods of daily life are exposed again and again in this book. Harrison has done the searching for us.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JimAhern on February 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For me, this is a book that needs more than one reading, it is a book that sits on the night stand offering itself frequently, it is a book that shades itself with the reader's mood, it is a book that is easy to reject yet begs of acceptance, it is a book for easy reading until a meter is inflicted, it is a book with ripples on the surface running deep. I would recommend.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Awesome Book, Must Read!!! If you are not familiar with Jim Harrison, I can recommend reading this book without reservation.
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By Tom Eastwood on December 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not all poetry, some short stories or thoughts. Would consider reading more of his poetry as has interesting and direct outlooks.
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By Lois A DeMartini on April 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Harrison continues to be a bedside read. A few pages of his prose before faling asleep
calms the mind and influences the visual image of syntactical perfection.
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