Wednesday, February 28, 2018

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February 28, 2018

The Soldier's Dream

Duriel E. Harris
Duriel E. Harris reads "The Soldier's Dream."

About This Poem


"'The Soldier's Dream' is part of an ongoing project taking up withness as a primary mode of engagement, exploration, and witness. I began its composition meditating on the phrase 'The child has one body / and five' from Lisa Fishman's poem 'Oscura Selva' (from The Happiness Experiment, Ahsahta Press, 2007), an allusion to Dante's Divine Comedy, as well as images of the last moments in the lives of Nigerian children kidnapped by Boko Haram. After incorporating that phrase into the poem, I found myself returning to De Profundis, or Psalm 130, (traditionally recited as a prayer for the sick, sung in commemoration of the dead, and uttered as an expression of sorrow) and the energy and promise inherent in birth and youth. I found myself asking: What is required to keep the peace? Who among us journeys to paradise?"
—Duriel E. Harris


Duriel E. Harris is the author of three poetry collections, including her most recent, No Dictionary of a Living Tongue (Nightboat Books, 2017). Harris is an associate professor of English in the graduate creative writing program at Illinois State University and the editor of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora. She lives in Chicago.



Photo credit: Gina Sandrzyk

Poetry by Harris


No Dictionary of a Living Tongue

(Nightboat Books, 2017)

"Testimony" by Hafizah Geter


"Firing Squad" by Ilya Kaminsky


"@ the Crossroads—A Sudden American Poem" by Juan Felipe Herrera


February Guest Editor: Dawn Lundy Martin


Thanks to Dawn Lundy Martin, author of Good Stock Strange Blood (Coffee House Press, 2017), who curated Poem-a-Day this month. Read more about Martin and our other guest editors for the year.

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"The Soldier’s Dream" by Duriel E. Harris