Poetry. The poems in this volume focus on life’s essentials: childhood, the rhythms of family, love for those who are dearest. These themes stand in opposition, often within the same poem, to the darker edges of growing up, the quirks and burdens of history, and the violence of our times, whose horrors are nearer than we want to believe. Other recurring motifs include the ephemeral nature of time and memory, and the inevitability of loss. Poetry, for Edward Harkness, acts as a counterforce against these natural tendencies, against oblivion.
“Seeing Ed Harkness’ name on the contents page of a little magazine brings the same confidence that the name of a solid old character actor in a film’s opening credits brings: no matter how bad the stars might be, the film won’t be a total loss. For years Harkness has gone about the business of opening the heart with skill, and for years poets in the know have welcomed each of his chapbooks, each poem or suite of poems in a magazine, with a consistent and familiar pleasure.” -Sam Green, poet and publisher of Brooding Heron Press
Other books by Edward Harkness at Pleasure Boat Studio: Beautiful Passing Lives, The Law of the Unforeseen
To his everlasting regret, Edward Harkness did not see Elvis when the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll visited Seattle during the World’s Fair in 1962. Other than that, Harkness is a happy husband to Linda, father to Ned and Devin, and grandfather to Clio and Hilde. Having retired after a 30+ year career as a writing teacher at Shoreline Community College, he now devotes his time to other pleasures: gardening, cycling, visiting the kids and, now and then, making poems. He is the author of two other full-length poetry collections, Saying the Necessary and Beautiful Passing Lives, both from Pleasure Boat Studio. His most recent chapbook, Ice Children, was published by Split Lip Press in 2014. Two poems in this collection, “Tying a Tie” and “Airborne,” won the Terrain.org annual poetry prize for 2017. He lives in Shoreline, Washington, about a mile from the north Seattle home where he grew up, and where his mother, Doris Harkness, whose art works grace the covers of this book, still lives. http://harkness01.wixsite.com/harkness
INTERVIEW WITH SPLIT LIP PRESS MAGAZINE ‘He is the man, myth and legend, folks––Ed Harkness, runner-up of the Split Lip Press 2014 Uppercut Chapbook Awards’ Article on poetry process, open minded reflections on what makes a poet a poet, the development as a youth to love of sound and language, and what a beginning poet can do to grow as a poet.
James Heynen, Poet –
Poetry is “the heart’s logbook,” says one of the poems in this,
Edward Harkness’s first book-length collection. “Saying the
Necessary” is a wonderfully rich and varied account of a life
examined carefully and lived generously. From the tender opening love
poem to the powerful and tragic final poem, the book has the scope of a
novel and the warmth and intimacy of conversation with friends. You will
come away nourished, having partaken of a sensibility that embraces the
world with grace and compassion.
Sam Green, poet and publisher of Brooding Heron Press –
“Seeing Ed Harkness’ name on the contents page of a little magazine brings the same confidence that the name of a solid old character actor in a film’s opening credits brings: no matter how bad the stars might be, the film won’t be a total loss. For years Harkness has gone about the business of opening the heart with skill, and for years poets in the know have welcomed each of his chapbooks, each poem or suite of poems in a magazine, with a consistent and familiar pleasure. And now he has star billing in this new full-length collection, which is good news for those of us who buy books to give away. For, make no mistake, Harkness is not the sort of poet who merely says “Look at me.” His poems invite the reader in and ask them to go away altered. And we are, we are.”
Madeline DeFrees, poet –
“Saying the Necessary reveals an unerring eye for significant detail. The balance between reality and imagination in Edward Harkness’s poems is so precarious and the language so persuasive that the reader identifies with the speaker, undergoes the same metamorphoses. Whether we suffer the diatribes of a Coach Bitterbender, miraculously changed to extravagant praise; or contemplate a mailbox, half hidden by a shrub, until it becomes a stranger hugging a fiddle in a gunny sack, the effect is the same: we understand the difference between what we recognize and what we realize.”
David Long, author of The Falling Boy –
“Edward Harkness’ poems pay acute attention to what we blithely call ‘ordinary life.’ Saying the Necessary is a book with an immense sympathy for the world –the mystery of passing time, the bonds of family, the jangle of human speech. There’s also a stubborn anger here, a speaking against the greed and stupidity of bad leadership. Edward Harkness is a remarkably deft and accessible poet. His faith in the redemptive power of words is an inspiration.”