by Joshua Harmon
Paperback / 88p. / Poetry / $12.95
Scape, a poised and attentive debut collection by Joshua Harmon, engages with various landscapes—from the constructed and debased world of parking lots, potato chip factories, and cul-de-sac traceries to the “rural equation” of woods, fields, and “clouds’ crumpled page” to create a series of conversations and engagements with the idea of the natural. Through his precise observations, Harmon defines landscape—the word and the idea—through an insightful and meticulous relationship with language. For Harmon, landscape is never static; instead his poems map a constantly changing terrain, in which the interior is imposed on the exterior as a frame for seeing it.
Praise for Scape:
“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.”
“The stalk of a flower. The shaft of an insect’s antenna. An architectural column. Scapes: the means to beauty, navigation, and fancy, doing all the heavy lifting without trumpets. And the escape? The landscape? And the inscape? What happens when all ancillary definitions are sounded at once? When the background becomes its opposite? This is the metaphysical, alliterative music vivifying Joshua Harmon’s Scape. This is harmonious discord, which is not a paradox, but ‘[a] homeless cadence.’ Listen up: ‘slo-mo / pleasures shaken from troubled instruments.’”
—Noah Eli Gordon
Joshua Harmon is the author of Quinnehtukqut, a novel. His fiction, poems, and essays have appeared in many journals, including Antioch Review, Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, New England Review, Southern Review, and Verse. A graduate of Marlboro College and Cornell University, he has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and the Dutchess County Arts Council. He likes rainy days, vinyl records, bicycles, pit bulls, tube amplification, and single malt whisky.