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Meditations on Michael S. Harper’s Use Trouble
Use Trouble by Michael S. HarperUniversity of Illinois Press, 2009
Afaa Michael WeaverNovember 14, 2009
Michael S. Harper’s most recent collection of poetry is Use Trouble, a glance over many years, a peering into the spaces between chance and opposition, between no way out and the promise of change.
When he told me about his new book about it in an email exchange, I ordered it immediately. I was in Taiwan and had it shipped to my office in Boston. Later I settled back into my apartment here in Somerville and sat at my kitchen table holding it in my hands the way I do when a friend puts a gift into the world this way, a new book. I mark the time that I have known Harper as beginning in the fall semester of 1986, when I sat in his Volvo with him and his daughter Rachel as he lectured me on the need to know metrics, as meter is to poetry what the notation of sound is to music. He later told me that I would find the assignments for his gr…