No Dictionary of a Living Tongue
Poetry | $16.95
paperback, 120 pages, 7 x 9 in
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 978-1-937658-64-9

No Dictionary of a Living Tongue is formidable in its explorations of art, citizenship, and life as a body amid the social, political, and electronic networks that define us, hold us together, bind us. The poems here take many forms—prose, lyric, epigram, narrative, dialogue fragment, song, musical score, fairy tale, and dictionary entry. An elegant use of sound couples with a keen and roving intelligence and a fierce commitment to social justice to create a unique and powerful collection of poems.

In this necessary new collection, Duriel E. Harris has created a primer on citizenship. No Dictionary of a Living Tongue is a living archive, collecting the muscles, senses, and narratives of a life. This is a stunning achievement, at once proprioceptive, visceral, destabilizing, and visionary. —Claudia Rankine

Early on in her masterful, new book Duriel E. Harris tells us ‘speech inhabits a body.’ Everywhere her poems relentlessly fuse and refuse the borders between language and the body. Everywhere forms, meditations, notations, dialogues, and definitions are transfigured by her intense, imaginative intelligence. No Dictionary of a Living Tongue is akin to a dictionary made of shadow and glimmer, fluid and flame. This is wondrous, incalculable work from one of contemporary poetry's supreme alchemists. Terrance Hayes

Duriel E. Harris’ No Dictionary of a Living Tongue is a muscular intellect mapping an open chambered heart. These poems, and it feels too limiting to call what happens here poems, dizzy me with their vision, and indeed to offer up a new way of seeing through their investigations into the core of something very human and very very black. Harris again proves that hers is a mind capable to breaking language down into its bare necessity, getting towards something both wild & rooted through these polyrhythmic, code-switching, swagger fat poems. You gotta check this out, fam. Here is black brilliance doing what it do, relying on nothing but itself to articulate its genius, here is the black experiment of Harris where the poet is the lab, the genius, the rat, the substance, and the boom filling the room at once. Danez Smith

Listen to soundscape performance of "self portrait with black box and open architecture"