“Bracingly candid, gracefully elegiac, tough, and passionate, Harrison travels the deep river of the spirit.” —Booklist
“[Jim Harrison] is still close to the source. . . . Dead Man’s Float is, as its title would suggest, a flinty and psalmist look at mortality and wonder.” —Los Angeles Times
Two months after the hardback publication of Dead Man’s Float, Jim Harrison was found dead in his home office. Harrison always thought he would die young, and when he didn’t he became increasingly preoccupied with time. As old age proved to be a harrowing trial, Harrison titled his book after a survival technique used by swimmers during an exhausting journey. This paperback edition includes the poem Harrison was writing at the time of his death, published here for the first time.
. . . Sometimes the sea roars and howls like
the animal it is, a continent wide and alive.
What beauty in this the darkest music
over which you can hear the lightest music of human
behavior, the tender connection between men and galaxies . . .
Jim Harrison was the author of over thirty books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, and in 2007 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
"Harrison pours himself into everything he writes...As he navigates his seventies, he continues to marvel with succinct awe and earthly lyricism over the wonders of birds, dogs, and stars as he pays haunting homage to his dead and contends with age's assaults...Bracingly candid, gracefully elegiac, tough, and passionate, Harrison travels the deep river of the spirit, from the wailing precincts of a hospital to a 'green glade of soft marsh grass near a pool in a creek' to the moon-bright sea." —Donna Seaman, Booklist
“[Jim Harrison] is still close to the source…Dead Man's Float is, as its title would suggest, a flinty and psalmist look at mortality and wonder.”—Los Angeles Times
”Mr. Harrison’s novels and poems over the last two decades have been increasingly preoccupied with mortality, never so much as in Dead Man’s Float, his very good new book of verse. Here he details the shocks of shingles and back surgery, as well as the comprehensive low wheeze of a fraying body… The joys in Mr. Harrison’s world have remained consistent. If sex is less frequently an option, his appetites for food and the outdoors are undiminished. In one poem, he goes out into a rainstorm at night and sits naked at a picnic table. In another, he writes: 'I envied the dog lying in the yard/so I did it.'… The title of this volume, Dead Man’s Float, refers to a way to stay alive in the water when one has grown tired while far from shore. As a poet, however, Mr. Harrison is not passively drifting. He remains committed to language, and to what pleasures he can catch.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times