Shakespeare's Horse (Paperback)
Poetry. Joseph Harrison's third collection of poetry displays all the formal adroitness that characterized his two previous books, now applied to a greater range of subjects and poetic genres. Poems that speak to our current condition and poems in various historical settings, evocations of Italian and Latin precursors as well as English and American ones, and forms that range from short lyrics to longer meditations in blank verse and terza rima combine to produce a volume of extraordinary variety and scope. SHAKESPEARE'S HORSE blends the past with the present, the personal with the universal, and a resonant music with an idiosyncratic vision that sees the world afresh.Shakespeare's Horse is Joseph Harrison's full emergence as his own poet, still in the eloquent and formal tradition of Richard Wilbur and Anthony Hecht but with an accent now pitched in a new mode. Among the book's triumphs are 'Wakefield, ' the wonderful 'Dr. Johnson Rolls Down a Hill, ' 'Damon, ' and 'Harrison's Clock.' Yet I take a particular joy in the brief and enigmatic 'Hamlet' and the remarkable title sonnet. The kind of comedy that Harrison works into his subtle meditations is refreshingly original. Should he further refine his already agile art, there will be no one in his American generation who so challenges the eye and the ear to come together.--Harold BloomJoseph Harrison's poetry is modern without being modernist. That is, he employs the tools and materials of traditional poetry to construct a kind of verse that is appealingly new, yet never transgressively so. His poems reflect a renewed lustre in our direction, and we come away deeply refreshed.--John Ashbery.