The Soft Path, which takes its title from a 1970s term promoting an alternative energy future, appraises the "unreconciled / losses" of a world remade in the relentless interests of capital, a world "revelatory in its / diminishment." Written where landscape bleeds into soundscape, where ecopoetics collides with technopoetics, this book speaks from the fragmented space of machine learning to "memory's residue," in a voice that recalls American predecessors Oppen, Niedecker, and Ammons. The Soft Path continues Harmon's exploration of both the serial poem and the long poem, from the small-but-systemic breakdowns of "Cascading Failures" to the epic commuting roadsong of the nearly 1500-line "Horizontal Dropouts." These poems offer field notes on sites ranging from interstate off-ramps to "hi-vis ribbons tied to / twig tips in the woods"; they register tenuousness and tenacity, from an era when "everything [is] / post-peak." The Soft Path reasserts Lydia Davis's judgement that "Harmon reaches deep into the resources of our rich English, renewing the language and creating from it a physical and emotional world completely his own."
Used availability for Joshua Harmon's The Soft Path
September 2019 : USA Paperback
September 2019 : Canada, UK Kindle edition