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Woman In Red Anorak
Woman In Red Anorak

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Pages: 65
Trim: 6 x 8.5
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0-89924-161-6

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Winner of the Blue Lynx Prize 2017

by Marc Harshman

We all know that language in the wrong hands can become the enemy of truth, and that history and memory, with their inher­ent losses, haunt as often as they succor. Thank goodness, then, for Marc Harshman. His lyrical insight and empathic imagina­tion remind us again and again of the solacing power of poetry. Much of what hurts and heals in Woman in Red Anorak lies just beneath the surface of the quotidian, where Harshman finds something resembling hope. And yet his is a hard-earned opti­mism inflected by the honesty of a true maker, a poet whose fidelity to humanity is matched only by his extraordinary vision.

James Harms

“The neighborhood was at war with itself again,” writes Marc Harshman in his beautiful, somber new work, Woman in Red Anorak. Indeed, one of the salient features of this book is its neighborliness, not in the conventional sense, but, because Harshman, like Whitman, enters and inhabits a multitude of voices and situations, the lives of many overcome by tragedy are brought together. “The soldiers have marched/without a word about/their fatal and private horizons,” he writes in one poem. In another, a young girl commits suicide, and, in a third, a refu­gee asks, “What had become of them? The fish? The doves? The river?/The children?” There are no comforting answers in this sobering, absorbing work, but there is the fierce courage and honesty to ask the questions.

Lynn Emanuel

I have admired for years Marc Harshman’s poetry for its sanity and its eye on our great teacher, history. In this captivating book, Harshman leads us inside a startling rapid-lens simultaneity of events: wars, environmental annihilations, deaths of elders, loves lost and restored, and, mysteriously, strangers’ missives and actions which inspire the poet to declare “I am suspicious of magic and compromise,/and satisfied to simply make room for wonders.” This is a great gift, of course, as it means these poems are the kind we return to and re-read. Specters are omnipresent—I think of John Clare, and Hardy, and James Wright. Accompanying the breathtaking invisibles, always, are real and present people and things, beheld in beauty.

Judith Vollmer

About the Author:

Born in Indiana, MARC HARSHMAN received a bach­elor’s degree from Bethany Col­lege and advanced degrees from the Yale Divinity School and the University of Pittsburgh. His poetry collection, Believe What You Can, was published in 2016 by West Virginia University Press and won the Weatherford Award from the Appalachian Studies Association. Periodical publications include The Georgia Review, The Progressive, The Chariton Review, Salamander, Shenando­ah, and Appalachian Heritage. His fourteenth children’s book, Fallingwater,
co-written with Anna Smucker, was published by Roaring Brook/Macmillan in 2017. He is currently poet lau­reate of West Virginia.