Since James Merrill chose his first book for the National Poetry Series in 1987, Harrison has been writing poems whose verbal precision and lyricism allow clarity and mystery to co-exist. Those early poems displayed an attentive affection for the natural world which has not diminished, but since then Harrison has increasingly explored the complexities of the human realm. Attuned to both the lyric and narrative impulses, Harrison possesses a gift for fresh description, a way with metaphors that are both understated and slyly complex, and an ability to tell a story that is at once inevitable and surprising in the turns it takes. These well-made poems range from the celebratory to the grief-stricken, chronicling our difficult, recurring passage from innocence to experience.
Born in 1957 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jeffrey Harrison is the author of three books of poetry, The Singing Underneath (1988), selected by James Merrill for the National Poetry Series, Signs of Arrival (1996), and Feeding the Fire (2001). His fourth book, Incomplete Knowledge, will be published in autumn 2006 by Four Way Books (New York). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Poetry, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, Poets of the New Century, and in many other magazines and anthologies.