The Heart's Work: Jim Harrison's Poetic Legacy

Poetry, at its best, is the language your soul would speak 
if you could teach your soul to speak.

—Jim Harrison, “Poetry as Survival”

The Complete Poems of Jim Harrison, Fall 2021

We invite you to make an enduring investment in Jim Harrison’s poetic legacy by supporting the publication of The Complete Poems—a gorgeous tour-de-force that will contain every poem Jim published and stay in print for decades to come.

We are raising needed financial support to publish The Complete Poems in various formats:

  • A single-volume “Statement Book”
  • A three-volume series 
  • A limited edition boxed set of the three-volume series

These productions will be classically designed hardbacks, printed on acid-free paper and smyth-sewn, with cover art by Russell Chatham. 

To catalyze a diverse and lively conversation about Jim’s poetry, each of the four volumes will contain an introduction from a renowned writer or literary critic:

  • Terry Tempest Williams
  • Colum McCann
  • John Freeman
  • Joy Williams

Our fundraising goal is to gather together 1000 donors—readers who love Jim’s work and want to see his poems read for generations—to help underwrite the design, production, editorial, distribution, and promotional costs associated with this momentous undertaking.

All donors at the $100 level or higher will receive a copy of the single-volume The Complete Poems, and have the opportunity to have their name (or the name of a loved one) printed in the single volume.

Please join us!

Jim Harrison and Copper Canyon Press: A Brief History

In the late 1990s, Jim Harrison signed his first contract with Copper Canyon Press to publish The Shape of the Journey: New and Collected Poems. From that moment on, Copper Canyon served as Jim’s exclusive poetry publisher, and over the next two decades released five more books of Jim’s original poetry, as well as numerous letterpress broadsides, signed limited editions, and a re-issue of the classic Letters to Yesenin. 

Jim was very loyal to us, and we are very loyal to him.

Photo by Robert Turney

As a literary icon, Jim could have published anywhere. He chose Copper Canyon because he was deeply committed to small independent publishers. And for his poetry especially—his “heart’s work,” as he called it—he valued our heightened attentiveness to design, production, and editing. Most importantly, he wanted his poetry books to stay in print. We assured him that we would never remainder any of his books, and we have kept good on that promise.

When Jim died in 2016, Copper Canyon became the steward of his poetic legacy. With the blessings of the James T. Harrison Estate, we launched an ambitious multi-phased program called “The Heart’s Work,” with the goals to:

  • Secure and advance Jim’s reputation as a poet
  • Cultivate new generations of readers for his work
  • Ensure his poetry is kept in print and available for decades to come

Please help secure and advance Jim Harrison’s poetic legacy by becoming a donor today.

Banner photo credits (from left): Italo Scanga, Dennis Gripentrog, Don Usner