Monday, January 2, 2012

The Joy Addict by James Harms

I love this wonderful, wonderful book of poems. Some of the poems have an old movie, glittery slow motion to them, like these stanzas from “Wherever You Hang Your Head”:

I can see the stripes

of light across my father’s face,
the blinds angled behind him, foothills
ragged through the slats

like a picture torn in strips
then reassembled. My sister
has her knees drawn up

beneath her on the chair and eats
a bowl of olives. Now
she is laughing into her napkin.

Isn’t that the way memory works? The little clips we replay, the odd details no one else remembers. The way we can never go back there.


  1. Beautiful! As is the photo anove!

  2. Thanks, Nin. I love these old buildings in Youngstown. This is the elevator at the Ward Bakery.
    I'm steeped in Jim Harms's books and I find myself reading the poems over again to feel that thing, and figure out how he put it in there. Such a master craftsman. And such a good way of looking at life. He's got this sincerity I crave, open-eyed and complicated. We're awash with cynicism and too much of it wears me down.