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Bridge of the World

Roberto Harrison, author

ISBN: 9781933959337

Cover art by Laura Tack
Design by HR Hegnauer

01 10 2017248pp

Download the teaching guide

Bridge of the World maps multiple transits between mental, spiritual, and geographic topographies, pivoting on the experience of dislocation from Panama and Latinidad. This is a journey over bridges between inner and outer worlds, between the cosmic and the material, the past and the present, and the immediate and memory. Traversing is bound up in the alienations of migration, economic disparity, the violations of capitalism, and the cosmic betrayals in the struggle to hold onto love in the place of rage. Harrison’s poetics explores psychological fragmentation as the natural condition of a life lived suspended in multiple in-betweens.

Roberto Harrison

Roberto Harrison is the author of Os (subpress, 2006), Counter Daemons (Litmus, 2006), bicycle (Noemi, 2015), culebra (Green Lantern, 2016), Bridge of the World (Litmus, forthcoming 2017), and Yaviza (Atelos, forthcoming 2017), as well as of many chapbooks. He is also a visual artist. He lives in Milwaukee with his wife Brenda Cárdenas.

Praise for Bridge of the World

Roberto Harrison is a terrific poet. There is an underpinning of Mesoamerican shamanism to his work. Animals show up as spirit-doubles, plants dwell in their own conscious reality. William Blake’s “horses of instruction” roam the Plains as Harrison’s “horses of insight.” You never know if you are going to tip into vision or madness or some deeper state of mind. At the same time Harrison talks a modernist talk. He seems constantly in touch with Vallejo, Laura Riding, Antonin Artaud, or Garcia Lorca, the ancestral risk takers. Bridge of the World includes a poetics statement, leading us through the strange trips and wild animal speech that give Harrison his poems. This puts his earlier books in perspective, particularly culebra. Spooky, tender, brave. The poems make me feel like a citizen of the archaic, the real world where all things are dancing, loud with significance.

Andrew Schelling

These writings surge as blinding alchemical tales, unified, by language wrought in a psychic molecular forge, their higher consciousness suffusing each phoneme, with this consciousness spontaneously rippling into lines, stanzas, whole poems, that leap into greater vision, thereby forming Roberto Harrison’s Bridge of the World. Harrison charts his own emptiness not unlike a navigator transmuting the emptiness in himself, thereby helping clarify the inner workings for each reader, as he or she faces the daunting mystery that we occupy as beings.

Will Alexander

Excerpt from Bridge of the World

Horses of Insight

for Peter O’Leary

I walked the woods
after breathing quietly
and seeing everything
dissolve…

Four times I saw the horses:

one black stallion,
with a lightning bolt
of white
streaking down its forehead,
and two brown mares.

Each day I sang to them
and showed them each
of my hands.

The first day all of them
came to the fence
to share with me their origins.

The second day
they were already at the fence
when I arrived, to fill
the balls of light inside.

The third day
a black cat
with a lightning bolt
of white
on its chest, came and played
with me as the horses
breathed quietly
at a distance
far away, but also
on the inside
of my heart. They were

at the dividing line
between each breath
and carried my light
from one breath

to the next. The cat
was happy
as it was the night
where morning
must be born. The last day

the two mares waited
apprehensively for me
as the black stallion breathed
upon the fence

all things
must cross,
and which divides
him
from the mares.

I sang to them each
day, and each day
showed them each
of my hands. And on the last

day, I fulfilled my promise to them
that they would be
the horses of my dream, that I would
ride with them through all the lands
that now arrive
inside the breath. And as I said goodbye

and left, I walked away
and further on
I heard the hoof steps in the trees
I thought were deer
but it was them.

The horses
as they see me now
revealed
to be with them