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Jim Harrison (1) (1937–2016)

Author of Legends of the Fall

For other authors named Jim Harrison, see the disambiguation page.

70+ Works 10,541 Members 283 Reviews 11 Favorited

About the Author

James Thomas Harrison was born on December 11, 1937 in Grayling, Michigan. After receiving a B.A. in comparative literature from Michigan State University in 1960 and a M.A. in comparative literature from the same school in 1964, he briefly taught English at the State University of New York at show more Stony Brook. During his lifetime, he wrote 14 collections of poetry, 21 volumes of fiction, two books of essays, a memoir, and a children's book. His collections of poetry included Plain Song, The Theory and Practice of Rivers, Songs of Unreason, and Dead Man's Float. He received a Guggenheim fellowship for his poetry in 1969. His essays on food, much of which first appeared in Esquire, was collected in the 2001 book, The Raw and the Cooked. His memoir, Off to the Side, was published in 2002. His first novel, Wolf, was published in 1971. His other works of fiction included A Good Day to Die, Farmer, The Road Home, Julip, and The Ancient Minstrel. His novel, Legends of the Fall, was adapted into a feature film starring Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt. Harrison wrote the screenplay for the movie. His novel, Dalva, was adapted as a made-for-television movie starring Rod Steiger and Farrah Fawcett. He died on March 26, 2016 at the age of 78. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Jim Harrison

Legends of the Fall (1979) 1,132 copies
Dalva (1988) 718 copies
The English Major (2008) 602 copies
Returning to Earth (2007) 568 copies
The Road Home (1998) 533 copies
True North (2004) 485 copies
The Woman Lit by Fireflies (1990) 465 copies
A Good Day to Die (1973) 325 copies
Off to the Side: A Memoir (2002) 302 copies
The Great Leader (2011) 300 copies
Julip (1994) 296 copies
Farmer (1976) 275 copies
The Farmer's Daughter (2009) 271 copies
Sundog (1984) 271 copies
Wolf: A False Memoir (1971) 266 copies
The Summer He Didn't Die (2005) 256 copies
Brown Dog: Novellas (2013) 256 copies
The River Swimmer: Novellas (2013) 246 copies
Warlock (1981) 229 copies
Just Before Dark (1991) 200 copies
The Big Seven (Faux Mystery) (2015) 153 copies
In Search of Small Gods (2009) 115 copies
Saving Daylight (2006) 97 copies
After Ikkyu and Other Poems (1996) 78 copies
Selected & New Poems (1981) 78 copies
Songs of Unreason (2011) 77 copies
Dead Man's Float (2016) 68 copies
Wolf [1994 film] (1994) — Screenwriter — 50 copies
The Search for the Genuine (2021) 38 copies
Revenge [1990 film] (1990) — Writer — 31 copies
Outlyer and Ghazals: Poetry (1971) 17 copies
Plain Song (1965) 16 copies
Locations (1968) 11 copies
Revenge (1990) 7 copies
5 blind men (1969) 7 copies
Republican Wives (2005) 6 copies
Livingston Suite (2005) 3 copies
The Practice of the Wild - Documentary Film (2010) — Producer, Featured — 1 copy
Oasis (2018) 1 copy
Poem of War 1 copy

Associated Works

Walden (1854) — Préface, some editions — 13,991 copies
Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink (2007) — Contributor — 535 copies
The Best American Travel Writing 2005 (2005) — Contributor — 212 copies
The Best American Poetry 2006 (2006) — Contributor — 190 copies
The Best American Travel Writing 2002 (2002) — Contributor — 190 copies
Why I Write: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction (1998) — Contributor — 186 copies
The Best American Poetry 2009 (2009) — Contributor — 134 copies
Heart of the Land: Essays on Last Great Places (1994) — Contributor — 105 copies
The Best American Sports Writing 2001 (2002) — Contributor — 48 copies
Birds in the Hand: Fiction and Poetry about Birds (2004) — Contributor — 32 copies
Antaeus No. 75/76, Autumn 1994 - The Final Issue (1994) — Contributor — 32 copies
The New Great American Writers' Cookbook (2003) — Contributor — 21 copies
Fire Exit, Volume 1, Number 1 — Contributor — 1 copy
Fire Exit, Volume 1, Number 2 — Contributor — 1 copy


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Common Knowledge



I bought this book because, leafing thru it, I was struck by the deep thoughtfulness of the beginning essays. "I write again in the manner of an earthdiver swimming in the soil to understand the roots and tendrils of trees." (p.3) And I've marked a number of passages in his essay on sitting Zazen. "We want to fully inhabit the world while we are here and not lose our lives to endless rehearsals and illusions." (p.9)
I am saddened that most of the posthumous selections were not of the same quality. There is a whole section about celebrities he has known, most of which felt like name-dropping. Yet, amidst his ramblings about Pablo Neruda he manages to relate "Our bifurcated and predatory culture crushes and strain the economically-nonviable language of earth from our lives. In contrast, Neruda..that there are no poetic subjects per se, and that we aren't romantic soloists on this sky island of earth." (p.58)
There is another large section of fishing excursions, some of which might appeal to fanatics, but again more name-dropping of the people he went fishing with. Others are like very descriptive travelogues without any real point other than to put the reader into the scene, tho in his essay on Peter Matthiessen who thoroughly researched habitat he mentions "Many of us don't see much on our travels because we don't know what we are looking at." (p.35) Too much of that time seems to have been spent drinking too much, but perhaps that is a consequence of the number of essays originally printed in male-oriented magazines. His tendency to slip a little advertising for his writing as a non-sequitur in articles also became irritating: e,g, "driving here along the MIssouri River is where I was inspired to write my book Dalva."
He was more thoughtful in the section on hunting & dogs. "As a sport, grouse hunting has often seemed ill advised to me in terms of the hours spent. But that is John Calvin creeping up again with all of his boring, utilitarian advice." (p.132) He slips in promotion for outdoorsmen taking care of the world around them, as it is too easily spoiled by users who don't root themselves in nature.
What a conundrum. Do I keep the book for the few good essays, or pass it on? Perhaps I should just look for a volume of his poetry. He manages to quote Richard Nelson's "Make Prayers to the Raven" which give me hope for his non-commercial writing.
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juniperSun | 3 other reviews | Feb 21, 2024 |
Harrison is an amazing poet. The world is set through his small farm, haggard step and the blindness in his left eye. As I became more familiar with his work he became an amiable companion through the second half of 2021. He was a brutal realist with a sarcastic streak but that didn’t stop him from rejoicing in the days he had.
Aidan767 | 3 other reviews | Feb 1, 2024 |
I had just started to watch the film ‘Carried Away’ when the title sequence revealed that it was based on this book. I’m at 10% and proceeding cautiously. The writing strong and engaging. It’s the seemingly spoiler filled prologue which scares me. If I know the ending, is it worth reading the middle?
katie66219 | 6 other reviews | Jan 22, 2024 |
monicaberger | 17 other reviews | Jan 22, 2024 |



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