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Francine Harris, Allegiance, and Michael Delp, The Last Good Water, read their poetry at Horizon Books.
The full-length debut from Francine J. Harris, Allegiance is about Detroit, sort of. Although many of the poems are inspired by and dwell in the spaces of the city, this collection does not revel in any of the cliché cultural tropes normally associated with Detroit.
Instead, these poems artfully explore life in a city where order coexists with chaos and much is lost in social and physical breakdown. Narrative poems on the hazards, betrayals, and annoyances of city life mix with impressionistic poems that evoke the natural world, as Harris grapples with issues of beauty and horror, loyalty and individuality, and memory and loss on Detroit’s complicated canvas.
Michael Delp’s writing is richly nuanced and sharply imaged with an authenticity that comes only from someone native to Michigan experiences. His engaging portraits of Michigan, its freshwater landscapes, and their many invocations can function as metaphor for larger philosophical and ecological issues, but the first aim of The Last Good Water is to draw readers back to nature and allow them to relish its splendor.
This collection is an important addition to the library of the creative, the ecocritical, and above all, the outdoorsmen and women of the Midwest.