Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie
University of Akron Press
Winner of the 2010 Akron Poetry Prize, Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie is "a tender anti-epic, a grunge-tinged love song to America's benighted post-industrial heartland." Harmon's Poughkeepsie shimmers just beyond the borders of banal recognition. "If you're not part of the problem, / you're part of the lengthening / tragedy," Harmon writes in an introductory pastoral, seeking out "the stray / detours and workarounds of the secret / city inside the more obvious one… on the outskirts of the absurd / attention to the material life." Poughkeepsie is that city of the heart where no one can look at anyone else "alone," where "the noise of beauty" is a cop's bullet polishing off a "traffic-struck doe," where "five dollars takes you anywhere in this town / except out of it."
Joshua Harmon is the author of two previous books-Scape, a collection of poems, and Quinnehtukqut, a novel. His writing has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. He no longer lives in Poughkeepsie.