Saving Daylight

Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison—one of America’s beloved writers—called his poetry “the true bones of my life.” Although best known as a fiction writer, his poetry led Publishers Weekly to call him an “untrammeled renegade genius.” Saving Daylight, Harrison’s tenth collection of poetry, is his first book of new poems in a decade. All of Harrison’s abundant passions for life are poured into suites, prose poems, letter-poems, and even lyrics for a mariachi band.

ISBN: 9781556592676

Format: Paperback

Mom and Dad

Gentle readers, feel your naked belly button where
you were tied to your mother. Kneel and thank
her for your jubilant but woebegone life. Don’t
for a moment think of the mood of your parents
when you were conceived which so vitally affects
your destiny. You have no control over that and
it’s unprofitable to wonder if they were pissed
off or drunk, bored, watching television news,
listening to country music, or hopefully out in
the orchard grass feeling the crunch of wind-
fall apples under their frantic bodies. 

About the Author

Jim Harrison (1937–2016) was the author of over three dozen books, including Legends of the Fall and Dalva, and served as the food columnist for the magazines Brick and Esquire. He published fourteen volumes of poetry, the final being Dead Man’s Float (2016). His work has been translated into two dozen languages and produced as four feature-length films. As a young poet he co-edited Sumac magazine with fellow poet Dan Gerber, and earned fellowships from the National Endowment for the …

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“Harrison sees the sacred in the world around him.” —New York Times Book Review

“Jim Harrison has written a new book of poems, and it is a beauty. It’s been a long time coming. His first full-length collection of poems in ten years, Saving Daylight is Harrison’s exploration of the porous membrane separating the past from the future, that that thing we call the present.” —Tucson Weekly

“Harrison’s poetry is earthy in the fullest sense of the word: it is of the earth, stoked by the senses, in sync with the beat of life, and salty in its forthrightness. Harrison gleans lessons from rivers, the moon, birds, and dogs, and puzzles over the elusive nature of time, tagging clocks as ‘the machinery of dread’. He writes sharply of war, the ‘loathsome’ government, the distortions of religion, and humankind’s ‘will toward greed and self-destruction.’ A veteran fiction writer, Hollywood darling, hard-living and deep-thinking poet, Harrison brings tough love to the puzzles of existence and a meditative perspective to life’s mysteries as he evokes the wilds of Montana and cherished small towns. He remembers the dead, savors life’s bittersweetness, its push and pull, its ‘swish and swash,’ and knows in his very cells that salvation isn’t coming. It’s always been here. Harrison may be under doctor’s orders to count his drinks and measure the sugar in his blood, but this is his most robust, sure-footed, and blood-raising poetry collection to date.” —Booklist

“A warning: do not open this book unless you are willing to lose track of time or your own fragile sense of self.” —Café Review

“Some prolific writers eventually settle into predictability or self-parody, or exhaust themselves trying desperately to re-invent themselves with each new book. Somehow Harrison has managed to avoid all of these perils. The only thing predictable about this book is that each poem offers some unexpected reward.” —Foreword

“Mountains and forests from the American West, oneiric apparitions and a hard-won, slightly bitter wisdom pervade this tenth book of poems from the prolific Harrison—his leaps from topic to topic, his declamations and spontaneous, mystical utterances, suggest instead a Latin American influence—several poems appear both in English and in Spanish in facing-page translations, and several more pay tribute to the wild intuitions of Pablo Neruda.” —Publishers Weekly

“The poems in Harrison’s (Legends of the Fall) tenth collection shift between rant and meditation as they blend philosophy with down-home observations about life, love, nature, and God. (Think Dylan Thomas, as written by Walt Whitman)… The best poems, like those written as letters, allow surreal images to gain momentum as, after a noisy rush of language, they arrive at a Zen-like quiet. Using conceits and other extended metaphors, these poems follow a thought as it feels its way, sticky hands and all, to an illogical conclusion that makes a kind of droll sense. Recommended for all libraries.” —Library Journal

“While Harrison’s themes may be lofty, his images tend to be grounded in earthy details. Grizzly bears, vermillion flycatchers, wild horses and hollyhocks inhabit his poems. Perhaps the poetry of Pablo Neruda inspired his use of so many lush and colorful physical particulars.” —Kansas City Star

“The stunning verse, warm and severe, of Jim Harrison’s Saving Daylight has traveled far. Justly celebrated as a major American writer in prose, Harrison’s poetry reveals the clarity and depth of an extraordinary consciousness… Harrison writes whiskey-amber poems that are easy on the eye and ear but for the mind are as full of hidden arroyos as pinecones… verse that speaks deeply to the genuine joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, of being a human animal in the world.” —Gray’s Sporting Journal

“The poems in Saving Daylight, Harrison’s first collection in nearly a decade, speak furtively from the deep center of his life, a life lived for many years with unceasing wonder in the American West. In this rugged terrain, Harrison has it out with the past, the future, and the eternal. The result is transcendent… These poems are vital, almost brutally so.” —Austin American-Statesman