Spirit Under Construction
“The only thing’s to go back where I came. / Trouble is, that’s an expanding blank / with an even blanker blank inside”: thus does Jerry Harp’s Spirit under Construction frame its challenge from its very first poem. In this collection, the perilous imperative to mark one’s life runs up against the expanding blanks of memory and of the language in which we resign ourselves to recover it. The poems and prayers that fuse forth poignantly acknowledge that they are both vital and shortfalling, “monumental and impoverished.” Beneath the hum and penance of the imaginable world and the loneliness of the unimaginable one, these poems weather.
Kimberly Johnson, author of Uncommon Prayer
In Spirit under Construction, Jerry Harp makes room for “the monumental and the impoverished.” These poem are beautifully strange and prescient, formally deft and subtle. The poet attempts to read the world he encounters, to make sense of its mystery. What is before him, he says, “illumine(s) into a script I cannot read.” Yet in these poems, he transcribes and translates the world (and the otherworldly) into all its complexity. When he turns his keen attention to the ordinary, it transmutes before our eyes into the miraculous.
Eric Pankey, author of Crow-Work