The familiar, unearthlyscent of Bayside Breeze.On the freeway, bentalong its axis, I doas ghosts do: wait.Acres of still corn.Slow-smelling night.Across the oceanhe lies in hospital.He might as well bedead. This far fromthe side of any bay,I measure sweetnessby its incongruity.
“Illinois” from RENDANG: Poems by Will Harris.
(UK: Granta; US: Wesleyan University Press, 2020)
Copyright © 2020 by Will Harris.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Will Harris is a writer and editor from London. His poems and essays have been published in the TLS, Granta, The Guardian, and the London Review of Books. He received a Poetry Fellowship from the Arts Foundation in 2019 and co-edited the Spring 2020 issue of The Poetry Review with Mary Jean Chan. His debut poetry collection RENDANG (UK: Granta; US: Wesleyan University Press) is a Poetry Book Society Choice, is currently shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize 2020 and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2020.
"Will Harris takes British poetry into new waters: Rendang is an astonishing debut. These questing poems rend and render, they tear and they give. Slipping between the everyday and the unreal, between crystalline lyric and a roving, essayistic expansiveness, their shapeshifting delves into the self and its precarious foundations... Many are heart-stopping: the kind of poem that makes you put down the book for a while just to breathe."
—Sarah Howe, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize
"Harris's poems turn the utterance back to ourselves, opening a dialogue between us, our modernity, the depth of our loss and the weight of our remembering. Where epithets rend memory from the moment, the artifacts of wounds heal themselves through a weft of irony, weaving language into a hard-earned scar."