Block title

Work Samples


A selection of poems from the manuscript for my third book, Landscape at the End of Time

PDF icon Landscape.pdf


[I would drive to your grave] was first published in the Bennington Review, and then in The Book of Endings.

PDF icon BRProof-Harrison.pdf


This is a very brief excerpt from my memoir, The Story of a House

PDF icon StoryofaHouse.pdf


About Leslie

Baltimore County

Leslie Harrison's picture
Leslie Harrison is the author of The Book of Endings (University of Akron Press, 2017), a finalist for the National Book Award, and  Displacement (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), which won the Bakeless Prize in poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.    She was born in Germany and raised mostly in New Hampshire. She holds graduate degrees from The Johns Hopkins University and The University of California, Irvine. Poems have appeared in journals including... more

The Book of Endings

The poems in Leslie Harrison’s The Book of Endings test for themselves Wallace Stevens’ assertion, “There is no wing like meaning.” Each poem takes up the challenge “to attempt meaning” in a world marked by loss, “to unfold the dead hawk’s wing and ask it about flight.” The reader first feels the musical delicacy of these lines — and then their ferocity. Part prayer, part protest, these poems both wish for and — necessarily — resist the desire to mend the world.

—Jennifer Clarvoe, author of Counter Amores

In the alchemy of these darkly fluid poems, grief and solace meet. There is also the clash between isolation and the profound solitude encountered in the natural world. The result is an ongoing prayer for consolation, even if such prayer flies into the heavens without answer. Yet these predicaments leave us this absorbing book, an island in the sea of the human spirit, and a claim for the transcendent value of art.

—Maurice Manning, author of One Man’s Dark

  • Book of Endings.jpg

    The Book of Endings
    The judges' citation for the National Book Award says, "In The Book of Endings, Leslie Harrison starts from the beginning, with elemental things—stones, wind, fire, the dark. Someone has left (it might be god), something has ended (it might be the world). It is also as if grammar itself has ended. There is a stuttering toward new meaning—an associative flow, gaps in reason, silence—as if a transistor radio was tuned to the interior of consciousness.
  • Book of Endings project.pdf

    This is a selection of the poems from the Center Panel section of the book.

    PDF icon Book of Endings project.pdf
  • National Book Awards Reading 2017 | The New School

    My reading, limited to 2 minutes, begins at 30:12. This was the National Book Award Finalists Reading at The New School in New York on November 14.

Shipwreck—new poems

I am working on a new book of poems that engages with the idea—actual and metaphoric—of shipwreck. From earliest times, the ocean has been both giver and taker of life, and now, even as we know more about our world, it is our last frontier. And those who go down to the sea in ships suffer from our lack of knowledge of this fundamental part of the world. Every week, on average, two large ships vanish from human knowledge. The ocean is peppered with wrecks.

The book also concerns itself with more metaphoric wreckage—the complexities of living in Baltimore, what climate change is doing to our world, how to live in a world that feels like it is dying.

Poems from the manuscript have been taken or published in many journals including Cherry Tree, West Branch, Four Way Review and elsewhere.

  • Summer sea.jpg

    Photo by Leslie Harrison, taken en route to the Isles of Shoals, a small, rocky island group off the coast of New Hampshire.
  • Shipwrecksample.pdf

    These are poems—all previously published in journals, from the manuscript in progress.

    PDF icon Shipwrecksample.pdf

The Story of a House

I am working on a memoir of my time living alone in a small house in a small town. The house was old and in need of massive renovations when I bought it, and the memoir follows my adventures in remote living and DIY.


"There is a poignancy, poise, and a presence about this book and about its traffic between secrecy and dis-closure that allows it to have an unusual force, and a true grip on its reader. This is a real lyric journey; and the reader will take it, too."

—Eavan Boland in the preface

"A heart wrenching, fabulous book about love and betrayal. Through mythic disguise and formal control, it enacts a devastatingly exact account of marital breakdown, erotic vagrancy, regret and anger...A tough and beautiful collection."

—Alan Shapiro, author of Old War


When I'm not writing, I sculpt tiny replicas of trees. Some are bare copper wire, but my heart lies in trying to make a very tiny (up to about 4 inches tall) replica of a massive living thing using wire, modeling compounds, paint and various substances to replicate foliage and snow.

Connect with Leslie


Leslie's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.