Daily Video

July 10, 2009

Poet Jim Harrison Finds Inspiration in the Natural World

In this video, Jeffrey Brown talks to writer and poet Jim Harrison about the inspiration for his work and the process of writing poetry.

A determined outsider, Harrison lives and works in rural communities from the Southwest to Michigan, finding inspiration in everything from animals to food.

For more on how to incorporate this conversation into the classroom, check out NewsHour Extra’s


“Poetry, there’s still a bit of the burning bush aspect of poetry descending on you, bang, you know? As they say, you never quite see it coming.” – Jim Harrison, Poet

“You really get a hang of the country, rather than be stuck in what I call the geo-piety of the Eastern Seaboard.” – Jim Harrison, Poet

Warm Up Questions

1. Who is your favorite poet? Why?

2. Name some important poems. Why are they important? What is their meaning?

Discussion Questions

1. Did any of Jim Harrison’s comments about writing stand out for you?

2. How do Harrison’s method and writings compare or contrast to what you know about other poets?

3. What did you like or dislike about the poems he read?

4. How would you find out if there are any poets in your community? See if there are any performances or book readings, and then talk to the poet about if and how their community has changed their perspective.

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

Watch Jim Harrison read more of his work

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