cover of book

Use Trouble
by Michael S. Harper
University of Illinois Press, 2008
Paper: 978-0-252-07598-8 | Cloth: 978-0-252-03350-6 | eISBN: 978-0-252-09147-6
Library of Congress Classification PS3558.A6248U84 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.54


For decades, Michael S. Harper has written poetry that speaks with many voices. His work teems with poetry configured as awe, poetry as courtship, and poetry as elegy and homage. Infused with tales and riddles, sass and satire and surprise, Harper’s poetry takes the form of psalms, jazz experiments, soft serenades, and radical provocations.

In Use Trouble, his first major collection since Songlines in Michaeltree, Harper renews poetry as the art of taking nothing for granted. In three groups--"The Fret Cycle," "Use Trouble," and "I Do Believe in People"--he draws on his seemingly inexhaustible resources to paint, sing, sympathize, and sorrow. Here are his tributes to his father and family, his irrepressible playfulness, and his lifelong romance between poetry and music.

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