Joshua Harmon is the author of Scape, as well as Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie (poems) and Quinnehtukqut (a novel). History of Cold Seasons(short fiction) and The Annotated Mix-Tape (essays) will be published next year by Dzanc Books. Cascading Failures, a chapbook of new poems, is also forthcoming from Greying Ghost.
In Scape, Joshua Harmon reaches deep into the resources of our rich English, renewing the language and creating from it a physical and emotional world completely his own: his incisive and richly musical stanzas have an ever-returning vigor and freshness.
Scape—suggesting inscape, escape, landscape—and not unrelated to escapade. Donne used the word to indicate evasion; Milton, to imply error. Which brings us to the errant, to the wandering that seeks to free. In Harmon’s care, scape engenders an errant vocabulary that accrues meaning by liberating it, nurturing ambiguities and encouraging multi-valence, and all with a stunning command of sound that makes every line crystalline. A brilliant, thirst-quenching book.
The landscapes that Joshua Harmon explores are not static or flat but alive and mobile, constantly interrupting the viewer as if to say ‘we compose this scene together, just listen!’ The reader is similarly engaged to wander in Harmon’s code-shifting, phoneme-blasting phrases that combine folksy Americana with an almost Hopkins-like faith in natural sacrament. Scape holds up the mirror to a nature that refuses to stand still. It is an astounding accomplishment.