Literature : Word Choice

Three Poems

by Joshua Harmon

*Harmon’s plunging, loose-jointed verse assembles here a new-era nature poetry in which the confluence of energies and inscapes

powers premonitions of collapse.*

Aaron Gustafson, 10,000 ft., Shawangunk Valley, New York, 2009, c-print, 24 × 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

from The Soft Path

Brittle maples displaced

me, fenced-off

fragment of

field defaced like

the oscillations of the un-

housed self snowroaded,

winterfered with: an

irruption of red

-polls, the resonant peaks

of the Berkshires and band

-width’s speaking

terms with terrain’s int-

entions, pasture dis-

entitled by imperfectly

grounded wires: and a diesel

engine running a 20%

bio-blend grinds down

-ed trees to chips

Meaning’s made


by the fundamentals

unmaking one’s history, like

26,000+ psi


becomes an every

-day spin over the hills

and away: and a for

-gotten password

atomizes Taconic

reluctance while

time’s compression

goes on resonating along

remote sidings, but on sky

-strafed wave heights

remote is relative

to no kin’s orphan

-ed technologies

Autumnalography’s three

-lobed spike against cloud

-ragged sky: listening

stations in geotagged

woods where contrails contra

-indicate a system to bring wires

down: the 600kW day permits

us shadow-flicker

at a thousand-foot set

-back: echo edges

Joshua Harmon is the author of two books of poems, Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie and Scape, as well as a novel, Quinnehtukqut. He lives in Western Massachusetts.

Aaron Gustafson grew up in Monroe, Washington. He studied at Parsons School of Design, in New York City. For his Freefall 4×5 series, he photographed landscapes while in freefall, using a 4×5-inch film camera. He lives in Seattle.