Review: dic tion ary

Sharea Harris's "dic tion ary"

Dictionaries are resources, guides of meaning and definition. They are a collection of a series of words. They contain the language of etymology, of history, of context. They’re used to ascribe a purpose to symbols, to describe their essences. But they reference themselves in their lexical loops. They’re associative, formed as they refer to other symbols. See: more words.

What's more, words in dictionaries can become lost. They can be stuck in tomes, changeless, trapped in limitations of their own knowledge. But while those words are ensnared in definition, they still have the potential of existence, a becoming that is never directly stated but suggested at. They are what they once were, what they could be, what they are not.

Dictionaries always exist of a past,

each word fixed across the pages.

As those pasts layer into the text,

there will continue to be living and dying,

living and dying, past the lines of the book.

Beyond the form of a dictionary, the world is still becoming.

Sharea Harris is becoming. She exists beyond her definitions as she tracks through pasts. Her poems meditate on all of her parts – on those endlessly shifting, transforming selves in a spectrum of identity. She gazes into the sacred of her internal self, questioning her roles, her purposes, in a weary of world.

She asks about love: how she can love others, how she can begin with herself. She lives in dichotomies, knowing of death and resurrection, depression and oasis. At the same time, her identity is not only of the internal. It is in relation: to countries, cultures, races, sexualities, genders, and cities. It is in her connection to lives, lives which drift together before leaving of time. It is in relation to the cruelty of those who imprison and murder people out of their becoming, who extinguish them before they begin.

How can a human

still love,

still live,

when institutions of violence

destroy citizens

who only wanted to


How does self-care

coexist with compassion

for others? Are they the

same thing?

There might never be any absolutes in answers and actions. There might only be loops of words – references to memories in moments, repetitions of those moments again and again. But a dictionary is not only a categorization of pathways, past and potential. It is a reminder, one made for liberation from selves.


Additional Features: Thematically intricate collages, erasure poetry, dictionary entries, index



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