Jim Harrison's compelling and provocative Songs of Unreason explores what it means to inhabit the world in atavistic, primitive, and totemistic ways. "This can be disturbing to the learned," Harrison admits. Using interconnected suites, brief lyrics, and rollicking narratives, Harrison's passions and concerns—creeks, thickets, time's effervescence, familial love—emerge by turns painful and celebratory, localized and exiled.
To remember that you're alive
visit the cemetery of your father
at noon after you've made love
and are still wrapped in a mammalian
odor that you are forced to cherish.
Under each stone is someone's inevitable
surprise, the unexpected death
of their biology that struggled hard as it must.
Now go home without looking back
at the fading cemetery, enough is enough,
but stop on the way to buy the best wine
you can afford and a dozen stiff brooms.
Have a few swallows then throw the furniture
out the window and then begin sweeping . . .
Jim Harrison, one of America's most versatile and celebrated writers, is the author of over thirty books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction—including Legends of the Fall, Dalva, and The Shape of the Journey. He divides his time between Montana and Arizona.