Between Lakes

Four Way. Sept. 2020. 104p. ISBN 9781945588532. pap. $16.95.
This is the seventh collection from Harrison, including new-and-selected poems from several years ago; his first, The Singing Underneath, was chosen by James Merrill in 1988 for the National Poetry series. Key to Harrison’s aesthetic are sincerity and accessibility, or, as he termed it in an interview, “honesty about oneself and about what the world is like”; no tricks of language or wry misdirections for him. These poems, typically for Harrison, work in memory and narrative, here most particularly about a difficult, contrarian father recently died, and the necessarily uneasy and half-resolved feelings that arise when a complex figure in one’s life departs. The evocative title poem, which describes “the possibility/ that I could be both there and gone,” gives effective shape to the emotional half-lights [should “half-lights” be in quotes?] of the poet’s memories.
VERDICT Harrison’s continued journey through a past tinged with regrets and melancholy should be most gratifying to readers of Ted Kooser and Billy Collins.
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