There are some artists whose each new work you look forward to encountering because you have come to expect growth – growth in their work and your own growth as a result of the encounter. The poet Jeffrey Harrison is such an artist. Harrison’s new book Into Daylight
, which won the Dorset Prize, contains so many first-rate poems and so consistently delivers the pleasures of wisdom and humor that you forget how difficult it is to write a good poem.
In part, the power of Harrison’s poetry comes of not sounding like poetry. Bereft of verbal embellishment, of metaphor, simile, and poetic figures of speech, Harrison’s poems have the natural sound of common speech and the feeling of ordinary thought. But of course, naturalness in writing is high art, worked at and toward with painstaking precision, until it speaks from the page.
There is an everyman mix of common sense and humility in the sound and sense of Harrison’s poems. The poet constantly, sometimes hilariously, second-guesses himself, takes nothing for granted, yet yearns for a world that rests on firmer ground. Nevertheless, we continue reading his ruminations because their odd little anecdotes lead again and again to epiphanies of enlightenment and deep feeling.
Learn more about the Poet »
Mike Casey Trio
The Mike Casey Trio is comprised of three young jazz performers who have, together and individually, carved reputations for their virtuosity. About band-leader, saxophonist, and composer Mike Casey, WNPR observes:
“Using a Janus-like vision simultaneously encompassing both the past and the future, Mike Casey filters his ideas through his own musical and life experiences, honing his own voice to create his uniquely original brand of saxophone madness and gladness, well honed, accessible, and joyful.