ISBN: 978 1 927322 62 8
Michael Harlow’s poems are small detonations that release deeply complex stories of psychological separations and attractions, of memory and desire. Frequently they slip into the alluring spaces just at the edges of language, dream and gesture, as they carefully lower, like measuring gauges, into the ineffable: intimations of mortality, the slippery nature of identity, longing, fear ... Harlow is a poet with such a command of music, the dart and turn of movement in language, that he can get away with words that make us squirm in apprentice workshops or bad pop songs – heart, soul – and make them seem newly shone and psychically right. The work is sequined by sound, rather than running its meaning along the rigid rails of metre and end rhyme. The sway and surge of various meanings in the phrasing, and the way sense trails and winds over line breaks: this movement itself often evokes the alternating dark and electric energy of feelings like love, loss and the pain of absence. This is a beautifully honed new collection.