I was ecstatic when Debbie Diesen sent me an email to inform me that I had won the drawing for her Michigan Notable Books reading Challenge. Like most people I never win anything and signed up because I wanted to read a number of books on the list anyway. So first of all thanks to Deb for hosting such a great contest. Second of all I have already spent my $50 at Literary Life Bookstore, a great little independent in Grand Rapids, MI.
One of the books I agreed to read was Songs of Unreason, the latest poetry collection by Jim Harrison. I have to preface this by saying that I am a poetry fanatic. In fact, poetry saved my life but that's a whole other blog post.
I first was introduced to Harrison by a college friend. And I found his work much like an ex-boyfriend you just can't let go. He can be gruff and brutally honest but he can also say the exact right thing when you need him to and you end up inviting him right back into your life.
In this collection he explores the world in a way only he can and maybe because the old curmudgeon has grown on me over the years or it could be his many references to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (where I grew up) that endear him to me but I found it riveting. There is a certain somber sway to the book that I found much like a lullaby. And even when I am not fully embraced by a certain poem, I can still appreciate the song being sung.
So I would recommend that you find a place in your poetry heart for Songs of Unreason by Jim Harrison. Here is a stanza from River II , that I have been chewing on since I got the book.
the clouds pushed by a big western wind
became a school of whales swimming hard
across the cold heavens and I finally knew
that we walk the bottom of an ocean we call sky.