Harrison’s practice in Os is coherent both in modulation and argument—not a modest achievement given certain habits of our radically inclined. Out of the dense corners his poems inhabit or perform—indeed, as “red horses / drink their fields in finished sentences”—the poems travel a familiar defiance, to the degree that their particular instance of manufacture remains largely difficult to ascertain. However, the mood is as immersive as it is prepared to situate and make links in definition of larger claims to reverse or bifurcate the assumptions of our social identities and the rhetorical representations that make them a liability.
Roberto Harrison was born in Oregon to Panamanian parents; he and his family moved to Panama when he was a year old, and then to Delaware in 1969. Harrison pursued studies in mathematics and computer science as an undergraduate; after a year of graduate work in mathematics at Indiana University, Bloomington, he traveled in the United States, Europe, and North Africa. His collections of poetry include Counter Daemons (2006), Os (2006), elemental song (2006), reflector (2008), and Urracá (2009).