Poetry by Chelsea Harlan
Copper Canyon Press, October 2022
Winner of the 2022 American Poetry Review Honickman First Book Prize selected by Jericho Brown, Bright Shade is an appreciation of the wild woods, the rolling hills, the Appalachian air, and the little rivers that were the setting of Chelsea Harlan’s upbringing. The poems speak through the liminal space between the body and its relationships to other bodies, and the human relationship with nature—and so climate change is, inevitably, part of this book’s undercurrent of grief. As the author navigates the high highs and the low lows of manic depression, Bright Shade articulates the wonder that accompanies sadness and the sadness that accompanies joy. Chelsea Harlan’s work is humorous, indeed bittersweet (bright / shade), and a little strange in exactly the right way.