Bel – Joseph Harms
“Joseph Harms invites us to enter a world of language in BEL, a universe populated by musical strangeness and linguistic surprise. To read this work is to be reminded of all the magical power contained by words, and the effect of that power when it’s unleashed by a gifted poet. Syllables themselves begin to hypnotize, and the form and invention of these poems, individually and as a complete experience, heighten the reader’s awareness of the luminous force that is the human impulse to make meaning. As a poet, Harms is our shepherd into this new landscape, made of the familiar and the uncanny, and BEL becomes as much a life experience as it is a book to be read and reread.” – Laura Kasichke
“In a niche all his own, Joseph Harms challenges his readers to a dizzying, high-wire act of verbal exuberance; a dazzling, unabashed revel in the ways language–coiled, charged, harnessed–will express the mysteries, the disorders of the human heart. What characters are forged here. What thrilling takes on American landscapes. No way to experience this work but to surrender to it.” – Donna Masini
“Joseph Harms’ Bel announces a significant moment in the tradition of sonnet sequences. Speaking to and across centuries of sonneteers, this volume pays homage to the form while also exploding its conventions, preoccupations, and ethos in order to reform and re-form. By turns poignant and savage, lyric and fierce, Bel startles with searching meditations on love, sexuality, connection, and hope. The poems dazzle in their sheer joy for the rhythms and possibilities of meter and language. This glorious volume gives voice to a singular wordsmith, one with roots in a legacy that hearkens back to Anglo-Saxon verse, that is sure to inspire future generations of poets.” – Lynne Greenberg
Joseph Harms is the author of the novels Baal and Cant.
Bel was a finalist for the 2015 National Poetry Series Award. Poems from this sequence first appeared in the following literary journals: Red Ochre Press, Poydras Review, Lines+Stars, SPECS, IthacaLit, Mad Hatters’ Review, Niche, Mandala Journal, Otis Nebula, Poetry Pacific, Out of Our, Wilderness House Literary Review, Stone Highway Review, The Olive Tree Review, Phantom Kangaroo and White Whale Review.
5.5 x 8.5″. 123 pages perfect-bound.