This book is delicious ... menacing eroticism and domesticity...the multifarity ... It’s black, queer, femme, and intertextual. harris has as distinct a line and as singular an enjambment as Ed Roberson ... harris is still about intertextuality, but she’s not borrowing it to reinforce her own architecture. She is conducting an orchestra. My, my, my, this book is powerful. I remain interested in scope. harris moves smoothly from the national to the local and the personal and back out. She is darkly funny and righteously furious ... harris does not kowtow, instead she writes and publishes with an expectation of the reader’s willingness to learn a fact or two, a word or two, or even a bit or two of music theory. I love how full this book is of things and verbs that seem not be indigenous to their scenes or sentences ... This book isn’t exactly asking questions; it’s taking a sober look at what the speaker encounters.
Harris employs a variety of structures—language, science, music, among others—and then confidently pushes beyond their containers to expose the power and possibility of poetry, and life ... A poet of ideas and emotions, of the personal and politic, harris also writes sublimely about the environment and what it represents about this nation ... harris reveals one of the roles of the contemporary poet: to expose unpleasant truths of the past and present, to call out the aspects of our worst selves ... The use of form to amplify content is evident throughout the collection ... she employs the monostich—a structure most used in 19th century Russian and French poetry, then later in modern poetry—to great effect ... writing...this bold, this complex, suggests the reader can be subsumed by such dazzling content. Yet harris is an expert practitioner and guide; we are always in her orbit, captivated as she manipulates language, un-doing worn traditions, engaging the reader intimately, and unforgettably.
Through its own image-led logic there is certainty of purpose ... As a lesbian, I also felt what could be called affinity with her work ... it seemed clear she had cracked open my heart and trained a light on its secrets ... This is a book full of 'heat,' of being beneath and being above, of desire, neighbors, the news, the horrors of systemic racism played out in a 19th-century orphanage and a shooting on a train — all presented without the censoring influence of traditional continuity. There is also humor in harris’s work ... she takes my fidelity to narrative and grammatical expectation down for the count, once and for all: 'Is it me, or is the sentence, as structure, arrogant.' And she ends that line with a period, not a question mark, because there is no point in questioning Here Is the Sweet Hand. It is better to let her voice be the center and take pleasure in change.