Jim Harrison—writer and poet best known for “Legends of the Fall”—passed away on Saturday, March 26th, at the age of 78.
He has published over 30 books, including novels, novellas, essays, and poetry. His best known work, “Legends of the Fall” was made into a movie in 1994.
I first encountered Harrison’s work when I was still in high school, during my first few years living abroad in the United States. I had come to the U.S. to attend an arts boarding high school so I could become a novelist. I had barely written anything outside of fiction, and never really planned to.
It was after reading Harrison’s “Letters to Yesenin” that my writing life took a sharp turn. That book was a watershed moment for me, and made me yearn to know language more intimately than I had thought possible before then. I started to write poetry.
And not just in general, but specifically, I started to write poems addressed to him. In fact, most of my poems start out as letters to him whether they stay that way or not.
I can’t truly describe what he has done for me. But all I can say is that his words changed me for the better.
Everyone has that book or writer that opened a whole new world for them, and he was, is, mine. I will never thank him enough for that.