Chosen as the winner of the 2022 APR/Honickman First Book Prize by Pulitzer Prize winner Jericho Brown, Bright Shade is an appreciation of the wild woods, the rolling hills, the Appalachian air, and the little rivers that were the setting of the poet’s upbringing. The poems speak through the liminal space between the body and its relationship with nature – and so climate change is, inevitably, part of this book's undercurrent of grief. Bright Shade articulates the wonder that accompanies sadness and the sadness that accompanies joy. Chelsea Harlan’s work is humorous, indeed bittersweet (bright / shade), and a little strange in exactly the right way.
Chelsea Harlan’s Bright Shade is always playful in a way that asks the reader to join in with the play, to fully participate in a poetry that enjoys language enough to arrive at the most serious of realizations. This beautiful debut seems to ask not just what poetry is but what it can be. And each poem answers, “Every raindrop/a little bell,//every switchback/and holler baptized.” -- Jericho Brown, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Tradition