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In Search of Small Gods
     

In Search of Small Gods

5.0 1
by Jim Harrison
 

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"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."—Booklist

"His poems succeed on the basis of an open heart and a still-ravenous appetite for life."—The

Overview

"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."—Booklist

"His poems succeed on the basis of an open heart and a still-ravenous appetite for life."—The Texas Observer

Now in paperback, Jim Harrison's best-selling poetry book In Search of Small Gods is where birds and humans converse, autobiographies are fluid, and unknown gods flutter just out of sight. In terrains real and imagined—from remote canyons and anonymous thickets in the American West to secret basements in World War II Europe—Harrison calls upon readers to live fully in a world where "Death steals everything except our stories."

Maybe the problem is that I got involved with the wrong crowd of
gods when I was seven. At first they weren't harmful and only showed
themselves as fish, birds, especially herons and loons, turtles, a bobcat
and a small bear, but not deer and rabbits who only offered themselves
as food. And maybe I spent too much time inside the water of
lakes and rivers. Underwater seemed like the safest church I could
go to . . .

Jim Harrison is one of America's most versatile and celebrated writers. He is the author of over thirty books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including Legends of the Fall and Dalva. His work has been translated into two dozen languages. He lives in Arizona and Montana.

Editorial Reviews

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.)

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Library Journal

Noted novelist Harrison (The English Major), also a fine poet, writes like a man reconciling the world at large with the natural world he knows well, one that still fascinates and inspires him. Many of his small gods are dogs, and many of them are fish or birds, that is, chickadees and hawks, willow flycatchers and hummingbirds: "Most birds own the ancient/ clock of north and south, a clock that never had hands, the god-time/ with which the universe began." He looks at them all with awe and ironic amusement. A group of prose poems centers this volume. Whether he imagines an Estonian World War II veteran who is fascinated by light or Vallejo in Paris, collecting empty wine bottles for small change, Harrison is heavily invested in narrative elements that range from the real to the surreal. One wondrous poem, "On Horseback in China," spins a tale filled with intriguing and magical turns. What joins these poems into a cohesive whole is the search for identity, still an important ritual for a man of any age: "I had become the moving water I already am." Highly recommended.
—Karla Huston

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781556593192
Publisher:
Copper Canyon Press
Publication date:
09/01/2010
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
104
Sales rank:
172,448
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 11.06(h) x 0.34(d)

Meet the Author


Jim Harrison: Jim Harrison, one of America’s most versatile and celebrated writers, is the author of thirty books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction—including Legends of the Fall, the acclaimed trilogy of novellas, and The Shape of the Journey: New and Collected Poems. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, and in 2007 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. With a fondness for open space and anonymous thickets, he divides his time between Montana and southern Arizona.

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In Search of Small Gods 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is another great collection by Harrison. His style continues to evolve; this is possibly more contemplative.