Our Father in the Year of the Wolf
"Our Father in the Year of the Wolf is a book of beings and endings and beginnings. More particularly, it is a book about the inevitability of endings, which seem, in these poems, only slightly less fundamental than being itself, and the tenuous possibility of renewal, of beginning again, which only occasionally intersects with being. It is, in other words, a book about family. And it is beautiful. But its beauty is its own: These poems refuse the easy richness of lyrical language while retaining the rhythms of lyrics of high intensity, and so mark an end of one of the many family lines beginning with Hart Crane. In this way, there is no book like Our Father in the Year of the Wolf. It is, irreplaceably, itself."
"The making of many books has no end, in one sense, because we must continually reimagine our histories: the stories, Harrity tells us, that 'we tell back or let alone or live along or lift up high.' His is an intense, complicated rendering. These mysterious lyrical narratives, lush and surprising, dramatize the corporeal manifestations of our most primal emotional and spiritual natures. How like us these formally inventive poems look on the page: broken, yet whole."
"It takes all my strength to hang onto the wild ride of these verses. If not for the resilience of the speaker, the resourcefulness of the prosody, I might be at a loss. Harrity reckons with a father-wound so brutal that it has left him not only raving but vulnerable and exposed. When the honesty seems too much, the book turns unexpectedly liturgical. The muscular language of the earth and all its particulars—'horsewhip' and 'amaranth,' 'melon baller' and 'battery acid'—tells us this is a voice in the wilderness that must cry out. I am surprised at how beautiful he makes the sound of his yawp."
L. S. Klatt
"Dave Harrity's Our Father in the Year of the Wolf is one of the most playful and profound books of poetry that I have come across in a long time. Its title includes the father and the wolf as iconic figures of transformation that play off of one another in a duality of the spirit—human and animal. Harrity pushes, thematically, a force, a gust of primal vision, through these poems with such a tender ferocity that one is hard pressed to put the book down while figuring out how to breathe. Harrity is a visionary poet in the spirit of Blake and Rilke and Sexton. He injects the English language with a dreamcatcher's colorful twine. That is, these poems play with language to get at the center of a psycho-spiritual reckoning. They are wickedly primordial, and that is what I love about them most. They have weight and body and funk, and they billow. When you read them you want to eat and scream, preen and sex. As the wolf, as the father, Harrity wants to 'open your door and . . . kiss all your people.' Eat them too, devour—as food and as celebration, a celebration of the human condition. These poems devour what is beautiful and dangerous in this living life. They are from the head and the heart of a man who is steeple and church, who is body and trope, who is father and who is wolf; and you should read them all, in a hammock, by the campfire under stars, and on the subway, at rush hour, where the throng of human stinks the best."