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The Shape of the Journey: New & Collected Poems Paperback – September 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 484 pages
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556591497
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556591495
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #487,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Harrison is most readily identified with his fiction, including Legends of the Fall, Wolf, and, just out, The Road Home , but, as he explains in the striking introduction to this superb collection, it is his poetry that means the most to him. He equates writing poetry with creating cave paintings or petroglyphs, so intrinsically human is the urge to express the life of the soul, and his poems do make the temporal timeless. Beginning with spare and lovely poems from Plain Song (1965), Harrison offers the best of seven subsequent collections, including the heart-revving howl of Letters to Yesenin (1973) and the Zen-influenced After Ikkyu (1996), followed by a set of new poems that go off, like fireworks, with a bang followed by a radiant bloom. A man temperamentally unsuited to cities and academia, Harrison is drawn to the endlessly enlightening beauty of nature and sustained by the awareness of mind kindled by the practices of writing, Zen Buddhism, and walking the earth. Readers can wander the woods of this collection for a lifetime and still be amazed at what they find. Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I first read Jim Harrison's poems almost thirty years ago in the Crawford County library in Grayling when I was at the beginning of a long teaching trail. Harrison saved my life that day and he has almost every day since. I return, almost daily, to his work which serves as a "shock tippet" against the "stuff" of the world. I don't think anyone comes close to his ability to chronicle the spirit of the natural world...the language he speaks comes from the most secret of places.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Keith Moore on December 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"I have decided to make up my mind about nothing, to assume the water mask, to finish my life disguised as a creek,.."-from Cabin Poem. I met Jim Harrison once in New York. He and Russell Chatham signed the books I had collected by Harrison. My first thought was how could this gruff large loud man with one glass eye write such moving literature and poetry? How could he write with such realism and romance and with such deep spirituality and beauty? How does he know these things? I realised in the same moment that others must have felt the same about Hemingway. We have genius among us.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy Weiss on November 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Author Jim Harrison says, "this book is the portion of my life that means the most to me". His poems vividly reflect the truth of his words. He writes about himself, his journey through life in outrageous and brilliant language weaving images of nature and earthly passions. Pause, and wander through the forests of this collection. It is lovely, lyrical and passionately beautiful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As much as I love Jim Harrison's novels, especially his most recent, The Road Home, his poetry is dearer to my heart. It's magnificent. There are only a handful of American poets who are dealing with real life as it is lived in our time,in a way that is accessible but still intellectually and emotionally challenging. Harrison is one of those poets. He's a powerhouse! Copper Canyon's beautiful collection is way overdue.
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