A! Magazine for the Arts

Warren M. Harris

Warren M. Harris

Poetry: Poetry Comes Later in Life for Warren Harris

March 24, 2009

For a number of years, Warren M. Harris was caught up in the academic world, so his writing was mostly for conferences and journals.

But his work always had an aesthetic side, expressed in the early years of his teaching career by his stage directing for a college theatre. He wrote several plays, some of which have been performed in small theatre settings, including one broadcast on New York City Public Radio.

For the past seven or eight years, he has concentrated on writing poetry, and his poems have been published in several periodicals. Originally from Richmond, Va., since 1981 he has been Professor of English at Southwest Virginia Community College in Richlands. Since 2004 he has helped edit The Clinch Mountain Review.

Scroll Down to Read Two of His Poems


String Theory

by W.M. Harris

I learned from a TV documentary
that all-that-is, this seemingly
ordinary thing Reality,

dances out of the dark, you might say,
as vibrations arising from sub-atomic strings
played by the tiniest of orchestras.

Then I read much the same idea
in a poem published in 1903.
I am a string, a chord, a silvery vibration.

Perhaps both Rilke and the clever scientists
had in mind that happy ancient thought
the musical rotation of the spheres.

Had the poet felt in his neurons
the subtle pulsations that underlie this world
and at last have emerged

from formulas on computer screens?
Or better still, do our most ingenious physicists
get ideas by reading old poems?


News Photo

by W.M. Harris

take a good look
a guy sprawled
on his belly in the narrow street
striped soccer shorts
crumpled up above his knees

study the bottoms of his bare
feet his only face to the world
folds creases curves
secret calloused underskin sunlit
rows of small padded toes
right ones jammed straight down
onto the rough concrete
awkward-not to worry-
painless forever
like the hidden origin of the dark
something oozing
from the edge of his shirt

trace the camera's unbending sight
over his shoulders
past his unseen head
against the pavement
follow the street narrowing away
plaster walls
squeezing the shadows
coagulating to a dull
darkness that sharpens finally
above the body
to a hard, black silhouette
of another's feet standing
in combat boots.

-- Linda Parsons Marion: 'Inheritance'
-- Back to Main story: Regional Poets Celebrate National Poetry Month