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Kyle Harvey

Kyle Harvey's collection of poems Hyacinth (Lithic Press) was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. He is editor of Fruita Pulp, an online poetry journal. He won the Mark Fischer Poetry prize in 2013 and his poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in American Life in Poetry, Colorado Journeys, Fat City Review, Grand Valley Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, HOUSEGUEST, Mama Liberada, Ossuary Whispers, SHAMPOO and SP CE.

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"Kyle Harvey's July is a restrained jaunt deep into its weird sluice. Reading it is like looking at a solar eclipse."

– Ed Skoog

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July

We Are All July

11/10/15

Sometimes, books have hemispheres. Sometimes, books embody a hemisphere so completely that they become a season, a point on a map, a specific place and a specific time. Kyle Harvey’s July is its own month.

I have this image in my head of a camper van – the tiny kind you’d hitch onto the back of your car – fitted out as a writer’s nook with rows of books and a wooden desk that I think Kyle posted to a Facebook group some time last year. There’s an easy chance it could have been someone else, that I’m conflating the whole thing, but I associate this image with Kyle when I think of him: waking up, starting his day, then strolling out to his office and writing. This is where I imagine July took place.

Firstly and most obviously, July is a beautifully crafted book. The design, layout, and cover in addition to the words are all attributable to Kyle Harvey and printed by Lithic Press. The style is simple. The cover features a map that looks vaguely hemispheric, vaguely solar, in primary colors. The paper has a durable, almost synthetic feel to it, reminiscent of the Field Notes Expedition memo book, which has been sent to the South Pole (wrong hemisphere). One translucent red blank sits on top of the title page for protection and significance, and then we’re in.

Harvey begins, ‘July is the only way in/ &/ the only way out’. July is terminal; it is a journey with a finite beginning and an end: you ‘board & debark/ the ship’. Harvey’s July is deep in a Southern State: ‘July is the map/ of honey in a jar’. It is wet with heat, in spite of its deserts. Harvey’s July is summer, it is encompassing, it has mass. It is obvious by now that Harvey’s July is the July of the northern hemisphere. It is the July of my childhood, the July of denim and mosquito bites, ‘a color/ in the key/ of C’.

This July is very different than my current Julys, here in the southern hemisphere where July lies next to the darkest month of the year. Here, July is wet with rain, July is shadow and mist, July is cold and windy and filled with hibernation. The July of this hemisphere’s poets is not the same as July. But Harvey asks the reader to believe: ‘why not/ July’ and I do; I remember this July and I believe in its existence, for all the po-ets of Charles Olson.

This July I will spend straddling both hemispheres, because ‘July itself does not change—‘and I will take a plane to Los Angeles and spend a week in its northern heat until ‘July/ spills out all around me/ in all directions’ and then I will fly back South because ‘July is me/ as much as/ I am July’ ‘&/ you/ too/ are/ July’, because we are all July.

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