Page last updated: September 21, 2019

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Poems by Neil Harrison

Harrison’s poems are inspired by his love of the outdoors and a curiosity and understanding that derives from being in and appreciating a place. His experiences as hunter and fisherman have led him not to easy answering but to mystical questioning.

And your entire concept of time wavers / as you question how you know this place. / Were you predator here, then, or prey—

For Harrison, the past—those events and thoughts that went before which make us who we are—invites our attention but remains mysterious and ultimately unknowable.

you lose yourself once more and begin / the dark, difficult passage out / to wherever the waters take you.

Wilderness, wildlife, friendship, family, humor, and Harrison’s patient, thoughtful observations suffuse his graceful poems with the beauty and wisdom of living close to the earth.

In response to something like instinct / the first word rises, others follow, / and a new migration begins / the archetypal bid for survival, / direction perhaps predetermined / back at the beginning of time, / soon lines of words almost seem to fly.

NEIL HARRISON’s poetry publications include Story (a chapbook from Logan House Press, 1995 & 1996), In a River of Wind (Bridge Burner’s Publishing, 2000), Into the River Canyon at Dusk (Lone Willow Press, 2005), and Back in the Animal Kingdom (Pinyon Publishing, 2011). His fiction has appeared most recently in Paddlefish, Platte Valley Review, and Pinyon Review.

He is a former instructor of English and Creative Writing at Wayne State College, in Wayne, Nebraska, and at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska, where he also coordinated the Visiting Writers Series. He now resides in Norfolk, makes diamond-willow walking sticks, wine from various wild fruits, and excursions to the local fields and streams with his third Deutsche Drahthaar, the Happy Dog.


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Back in the Animal Kingdom (2011): Poetry—His animal kingdom remains a mystery, but its ‘timeless burning / pulse’ conceals wildness beyond the reach of the human mind. (6"x9" paperback, 110 pages, ISBN: 978-1-936671-02-1, $15.00).

May 26, 2018—A Word’s Worth Review:
“When I returned from a trip out of state, tired and my mind devoid of any kind of poetic thought and found a new book of poetry from Pinyon Publishing in my mailbox, I felt an infusion of energy. Where the Waters Take You by Neil Harrison is that kind of infusion. He speaks to my condition with a voice of lucid tones, writing about the natural world and what his clear eyes see in that world. ” Read the Review
September 19, 2019—Nebraska Book Awards:
Where the Waters Takes You won the Nebraska Honor Book Award in Poetry. Awards ceremony, readings, and book signings will take place on November 9th, 2:30-6:30 pm, at the Nebraska History Museum, 131 Centennial Mall North, in downtown Lincoln.