What a pleasure to have a selected poems by Jonathan Harrington. Truth-telling, passionate, plainspoken, awestruck, The Frozen Sea Within Us moves through forty years of work that relishes unreconciled contradictions. Drifting from visionary to poignant longing to surreality (bicycles falling from the sky!). I kept thinking of Mahmoud Darwish’s words: “Extreme clarity is a mystery.” This is the clear voice of an honest friend with urgent news. A dazzling collection.
—John Wall Barger, author of Smog Mother
"This overdue volume charts the remarkable career of an unmistakable voice in American poetry. Harrington's range—embracing the South, New York and Mexico, as well as interior landscapes of a re-imagined gospel in today's Middle East—is rare and impressive. Deeply felt, sometimes harrowing, sometimes funny, these are poems that sing to the soul."
—Charles Holdefer, author of Don’t Look At Me
While reading Jonathan Harrington, one has the feeling that, for this writer, nothing’s sacred, at the same time that everything is. He can inhabit biblical times as well as the backyard of a nephew with its “chromium lawn furniture”, and a shed “with AC (what!) for the lawnmower?” This poet is always moving, and everywhere he goes, he takes his ‘southern self’. The world is full of annoyances—getting old, dogs that start up a chorus, loneliness, darkness. He goes into the wilderness of the self, too, where “You begin to see a god in the face of every tree.” The one place that seems a steadying factor, an anchor, is home: “I was born where
orange/groves run in geometric rows”, he writes in lines presenting a solid, sure footing, where
all else is doubt and contradiction. With wit and calamitous humor, The Frozen Sea Within Us poses its own wonderful truths and enigmas.
—Mervyn Taylor, author of The Last Train
A poet of the quotidian, Jonathan Harrington has the seer’s gift of perceiving the extraordinary beneath the ordinary and the ordinary beneath the extraordinary. His lyrical bent is infused with a droll sense of humor and delicious irony. Most of the poems in this welcome collection are brief but sharp, snapshots that speak volumes about the larger world and that of the poet’s self, and how the twain intersects in haunting, intricate, and surprising ways. There’s craft and magic in Harrington’s words sure to ensorcell the reader.
—Luis H. Francia, author of Thorn Grass