John Abbott’s debut chapbook, Near Harmony, explores the boundaries of the natural world and the city, trying to make sense of both, as well as the pain and thrill of pursuing perfection.
John Abbott’s deeply human first collection of poems rewires a world at odds with itself. Cell phones ring in a peat bog. His work, teeming with unexpected music, is peopled by tenderly drawn, disconnected seekers. Near Harmony introduces a new, clear voice to represent our fractured/hopeful times and a vision wide enough to include those left behind.
~ Joseph Gross, Editor-in-Chief, Atticus Review
~ M.P. Jones IV, Editor-in-Chief, Kudzu Review
~ Andrew Brininstool, Editor of REAL: Regarding Arts & Letters
John Abbott’s new chapbook dwells in the discordant liminal
spaces—between melody and memory, desire and imagination—through
its contemplation of time, space, and distance. His poetics occupy this
illusory space through the subtle addition of narrative to direct and
commanding lyric observation. The force of his lyric voice recalls writers
like Jim Harrison, Hayden Carruth, and W.S. Merwin. The speaker’s
sense of loss isn’t located in some nostalgic distant past, but in the
agonizing stillness and absolute weight of the present moment.
Sometimes these poems move as slow as “The Progress of Ivy,” but their
progress is always toward the inevitable silence and darkness that lives at
the heart of Near Harmony.
In John Abbott's poetry we see the music inherent in language on full
display. Clear, powerful, evocative--the poems in Near Harmony remind
me why poetry is so important. As an editor, I find them impressive. As a
writer, I find them awe inspiring.