About the Book:
James (Jim) Harrell (Author)
February Mission is a collected volume of poetry and plays by a man who’s spent a lifetime paying attention to his muse. As a young boy in rural Alabama, Jim Harrell was introduced to the pleasures of writing, and though he made his career as a businessman, he continued to educate himself about prosody and poetic and dramatic form, writing, always writing, as he is still.
Jim Harrell’s volume is expeditionary, ranging back in time over his own rich history, visiting places he’s been and wars he’s experienced, friendships shared and loves lost, and life on the littoral coast, which inspires much of his work and describes his emotional home. Like more famous poets before him, Harrell honors what he remembers. From the big and autobiographical, such as the book’s fine title poem about his experiences in WWII, to the intimate and slyly amusing, Harrell’s work celebrates life in reclaiming his memories about it.
The poetic and dramatic styles in February Mission are as far-ranging as the topics are broad, but throughout the author’s ear is attuned to the complexity of the human experience and our shared humanity. Harrell, though, is no pedant. When you least expect it, he turns turns cleverness to good effect and with a passing fillip reminds of the humor in a situation, bridging the distance between our histories and his and showing remarkable psychological acuity as well: “Reality, we know is fact/Love, we surmise, is fear and fun/One day life is right side up;/And one day upside down.”
In the end, a lovely balance—topical and tonal—presides over this collection of poems and plays. It’s present in Harrell’s voice, which is simultaneously wise and humble, compassionate and seductive. Wade far enough into the book, and you will experience its tidal pull, which is the author’s love of words and ideas and his hope that we too should know the pleasures which define this collection and which bespeak life on the literary coast. Maybe—you can almost hear him whisper—you have a poem or a play in you.
Notice of Grant of Free License for Performance:
License is hereby granted to any Alabama secondary school to use all or part of any or all of the three plays in this volume for public performance, workshop, or dramatic reading without further permission from the author or publisher or the payment of any fee or other entitlement. The author requests, however, that a notice of the time and manner of said use be mailed to the publisher at PO Box 1588, Montgomery, AL 36102.
The Visitor (performance copy)
The Elusive Mouse (performance copy)
How Now Brown Cow (performance copy)