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Selected Poems

Selected Poems

by Michael S. Harper

Edited and introduced by Ronald A. Sharp

Part of our Arc International Poets series

Story-telling, the blues and jazz are very much part of Michael Harper's background, and it is therefore hardly surprising that this extraordinary collection by one of America's leading poets is full of a music and a rhythm that is both compelling and deeply moving. Concerned with the often painful historical legacies of family and race, Harper re-visits personal and black history in these poems, in which we not only hear the driving syncopations and heady improvisations of Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis but also the cadences of those towering literary figures, among them Yeats and Keats, that have so much influenced him.

This is Michael Harper's first publication in the UK.

His poems, through sheer human grace, draw me directly into his life; he seizes me by the hand, and I respond anew to the simple validity of his experience.

Kay Boyle, San Francisco Chronicle

... among the front ranks of poets today.

Yale Review

...heart-wrenching power... This is strong poetry, with muscular rhythms, combining delicacy, anger and compassion, stylistically sure-footed.,

Weyfarers 93, April 2003

No other poet has embodied the riffs and modalities of jazz and blues more exquisitely than Michael S. Harper... But beyond the brilliant turns and shifts of Harper's poems are their clear-eyed and compassionate dealings with the hard news of life.

Rita Dove, The Washington Post

102 pages
ISBN 1-900072-24-6
Published 2002

» About Michael S. Harper