Ed Harkness with Alicia Hokanson - The Law of the Unforeseen

The Law of the Unforeseen is about family, history, family history, the natural world--its beauty, its degradation--the strange miracle of consciousness. I write about the blues, failure, great apes, time passing, icebergs, massage therapy, the Civil War, crows, bats, potatoes, spoons and drones. Nothing is off the table. In fact, everything is on the table, including the fabled kitchen sink.

He will be joined with poet Alicia Hokansonthe author of Phosphorus and Mapping the Distance. Join us in Lake Forest Park for this special poetry event!

The poet Galway Kinnell once said that when writing a poem, the deeper you go inside yourself, and the more intimate you become in the process of composing and engaging language with your whole being, a strange thing happens. The poem, Kinnell said, becomes both personal and universal. By diving deep, the poem discovers--or uncovers--what binds us, what we all feel: the quickened heart of recognition and shared emotions.

That's what I've aimed for in The Law of the Unforeseen to plumb deep, to find "the best words in their best order," as Samuel Taylor Coleridge said in his famous distinction between prose (..".words in the best order.") and poetry ..".the best words in the best order").

In The Law of the Unforeseen, the law Harkness speaks of requires us to know now and then. We walk under "the trees of unremembrance," so that we may know who we are, how we got here, and who we came from. And we arrive in this lovely and threatened paradise called Earth, right now. The "endless replication of clam shells, ants, / hyacinths in spring"?--it's true, we will lose those things, individually, but these poems savor such stuff, and in that savoring they give us hope for the future. -Robert Wrigley, author of Box and The Anatomy of Melancholy

Ed Harkness's great gift is for the lyric telling of "the heart's winding chronicle." Permeated with the keenly felt ache of life, "the world breaking your heart and, somehow, mending it," these poems celebrate the sensuous beauty of "this gold world" in deep music line by line. Harkness's poems are a necessary sustenance for our present perilous moment. -Alicia Hokanson, Author of Mapping the Distance

Ed Harkness' poems are always raising themselves up, always lifting off the ordinary. They are persistent, observant, sharply etched, hovering in the vicinity like mist off the woods and waters, invisibly stirring the clear air, offering unlikely gifts we might suffer from the lack of otherwise. -Paul Hunter, author of Clownery

Suffused with tenderness for the earth and its fragile creatures, The Law of the Unforeseen contains poems--lyrical, sensual, often comic, sometimes savagely funny--that ride a current of melancholy, a certainty of loss which deepens the vitality Harkness brings to the page. This is a rich, generous-hearted collection, a moving testament by a man of passionate conscience. -Anne Pitkin, author of Winter Arguments

In The Law of the Unforeseen, Edward Harkness confronts the living world as urgently as the world of ugly vase, thrift-store spoon, broken, half-buried beach shell, and the "floral design of pond ice." The embrace of this important collection is truly Whitmanesque. I deeply admire how it keeps breaking me even as it pulls me toward its heart where every bloodied instant lives alongside some unlikely bit of mending. -Derek Sheffield, author of Through the Second Skin


Edward Harkness: To his everlasting regret, Edward Harkness did not see Elvis when the King of Rock 'n' Roll visited Seattle during the World's Fair in 1962. Other than that, Harkness is a happy husband to Linda, father to Ned and Devin, and grandfather to Clio and Hilde. Having retired after a 30+ year career as a writing teacher at Shoreline Community College, he now devotes his time to other pleasures: gardening, cycling, visiting the kids and, now and then, making poems. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Saying the Necessary and Beautiful Passing Lives, both from Pleasure Boat Studio. His most recent chapbook, Ice Children, was published by Split Lip Press in 2014. Two poems in this collection, "Tying a Tie" and "Airborne," won the Terrain.org annual poetry prize for 2017. He lives in Shoreline, Washington, about a mile from the north Seattle home where he grew up, and where his mother, Doris Harkness, whose art works grace the covers of this book, still lives.

Alicia Hokanson, retired from many years of teaching, now devotes her time to reading, writing, and political activism. Her first collection of poems, Mapping the Distance, was selected by Carolyn Kizer for the King County Arts Commission publication prize. Two chapbooks from Brooding Heron Press are Insistent in the Skin and Phosphorous.  Recent poems appear in Raven Chronicles and terrain.org

The Law of the Unforeseen Cover Image
ISBN: 9780912887715
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Pleasure Boat Studio - September 15th, 2018