Joseph Harrington

Things Come On

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Things Come On is a broken and sutured hybrid of forms, combining poetry, prose narration, primary documents, dramatic dialogue, and pictures. The narrative is woven around the almost exact concurrence of the Watergate scandal and the dates of the poet’s mother’s illness and death from breast cancer, and weaves together private and public tragedies—showing how the language of illness and of political cover-up powerfully resonate with one another. The resulting “amneoir” (a blend of “memoir” and “amnesia”) explores a time for which the author must rely largely on testimony and documentary evidence—not unlike the Congress and the nation did during the same period. Absences, amnesia, and silences count for at least as much as words. As the double tragedy unfolds, it refuses to become part of an overarching system, metaphor, or metanarrative, but rather raises questions of memory and evidence, gender and genre, personal and political, and expert vs. lay language. This haunting experimental biography challenges our assumptions about the distance between individual experience and history. A reader’s companion is available at http://thingscomeonreader.site.wesleyan.edu/
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77 printed pages
Original publication
2012

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