Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone
(New Poets of America)
Published by: BOA Editions Ltd.
Release Date: April 1, 2007
“Memory and its embodiment in a colloquial yet highly wrought musical language are what originally drew me to Harrington’s manuscript and what continues to pull me back. We learn the story of Lillian and Webster and their children and grandchildren, a black family living a hardscrabble life in the rural South more than sixty years ago. Set on the cusp of the Civil Rights era, the poems chronicle a way of life that has long since vanished.”
—Elizabeth Spires, from the foreword
Winner of the 5th Annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize
Winner of the 2008 Kate Tufts Discovery Award
"Like a stringed instrument that continues to vibrate after the musician has ceased playing, Harrington's poems resonate. Without in any way simplifying or ignoring the darker side of life—pain, loss, death, injustice—Harrington is a celebratory poet who sees with the fresh, wondering eye of a child, but knows with the mind and heart of an adult."
—Elizabeth Spires, from the Foreword
"Her rich, colloquial poems draw on both folklore and science, and are tributes to her weary but tenacious family in their journey North."
"Early in the manuscript, Harrington introduces her readers to the constructed world we are to inhabit. She proclaims in the last line of the first poem, ‘I build a house for us. Rejoice.’ And what follows is her brilliant foundation, and many reasons for praise."
—Post No Ills Magazine
SHAKING THE GRASS
Evening, and all my ghosts come back to me
like red banty hens to catalpa limbs
and chicken-wired hutches, clucking, clucking,
and falling, at last, into their head-under-wing sleep.
I think about the field of grass I lay in once,
between Omaha and Lincoln. It was summer, I think.
The air smelled green, and wands of windy green, a-sway,
a-sway, swayed over me. I lay on green sod
like a prairie snake letting the sun warm me.
What does a girl think about alone
in a field of grass, beneath a sky as bright
as an Easter dress, beneath a green wind?
Maybe I have not shaken the grass.
All is vanity.
Maybe I never rose from that green field.
All is vanity.
Maybe I did no more than swallow deep, deep breaths
and spill them out into story: all is vanity.
Maybe I listened to the wind sighing and shivered,
spinning, awhirl amidst the bluestem
and green lashes: O my beloved! O my beloved!
I lay in a field of grass once, and then went on.
Even the hollow that my body made is gone.