Let Our Bodies Change the Subject


Let Our Bodies Change the Subject

Jared Harél

The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry Series

80 pages


September 2023


$17.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2023


$17.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2023


$17.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

National Jewish Book Award Finalist

Let Our Bodies Change the Subject is a poetry collection that dives headlong into the terrifying, wondrous, sleep-deprived existence of being a parent in twenty-first-century America. In clear, dynamic verses that disarm then strike, Jared Harél investigates our days through the keyhole of domesticity, through personal lyrics and cultural reckonings. Whether taking a family trip to Coney Island or simply showing his son snowflakes on Inauguration morning, Harél guides us toward moments of intimacy and understanding, humor and grief.

“I will try,” he admits, “to be better than myself, which is all/I’ve ever wanted and everything I need.” Winner of the Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Let Our Bodies Change the Subject is a secular prayer. Hoping against hope, Harél works to reconcile feelings of luck and loss, of living for joy while fearing the worst.

Author Bio

Jared Harél is the author of Go Because I Love You. He has been awarded the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from American Poetry Review and the William Matthews Poetry Prize from Asheville Poetry Review. His poems have appeared in 32 Poems, Beloit Poetry Journal, Bennington Review, New Ohio Review, Ploughshares, Poem-a-Day, the Southern Review, and The Sun. Harél teaches writing, plays drums, and lives in Westchester, New York, with his wife and two children.


"For readers who are parents, they will find fellow feeling. For readers who are not parents (like myself) but have always found their own parents to be mysterious, this book provides a lucid possibility of what we might have known, had we opportunity. Harél offers the most generous version, of a father who labors to comfort his children without betraying his integrity."—Esther Lin, Cortland Review

"These poems speak to us because Harél's angst is relatable and real and cannot be wished away or dismissed with rational explanations or neat poetic pronouncements. If we choose to journey with him, we can keep exploring the questions together and benefit from his companionship as we continue to explore the enigma of what it means to be human. There is joy and truth in that."—Karen Corinne Herceg, diode poetry

“This life, Jared Harél says, is a sad rollercoaster, all of us with our arms up, screaming on the way down. Thwarted desires, the many losses, school shootings, bomb museums, plague, all seen through the eyes of parents and children. Even so, there are ‘sorbet-colored koi’ in a pond, a daughter singing, a father donating blood to the Red Cross, sea stars, morning prayers before work with Tefillin in sweatpants and socks. This book was written with, what Czeslaw Milosz is quoted as saying, ‘compassion for others entangled in the flesh.’”—Dorianne Laux, author of Only As the Day Is Long: New and Selected Poems

“Meet Death in the guise of family, Desire in the kitchen, Lost Love in the driveway, Terror in an old truck, and Misfortune in waking up. Each clear and short poem deals with The Unimaginable and imagines it. How can anyone not need this book?”—Hilda Raz, author of Letter from a Place I’ve Never Been

“Jared Harél explores the fullness of family—what it’s like to be a parent, with gun violence, hate, and disease lurking in the shadows but also awe and joy, and what it’s like to be a brother, a husband, a son, and holy skeptic. These poems—simple and heavy at the same time, smooth with crisp images—will bring you closer to yourself and the people you love.”—Jeffrey McDaniel, author of Thin Ice Olympics

Table of Contents

Source Acknowledgments
Sad Rollercoaster
All I’ve Ever Wanted
The Sweet Spot
Beer Run
Swim Lessons
The Perimeter
Plastic Butterflies
Elegy for Recycled Encyclopedias
A Moving Grove
Let Our Bodies Change the Subject
Good Star
As Plagues Go
Along the Path to Washington Irving’s House
Water Damage
A Childhood of Nannies
Excavations in Salemi, Sicily
The Great American Eclipse
Self-Portrait as Nature Preserve
My Stupid Pride
Behind the Painted Guardrail
My Grandfather Dreams I Am Dead
On Suffering
Every Time I Think My Life Is Hard, There’s Someone in the Sky Reminding Me to Zip It
Our Wedding
Too Soon in San Antonio
Having a Third
Survival Mode
The Secular among Us
If I Never Find God
Final Kindness
Portrait of a Heron
You Want It Darker (2016)
January 20, 2021
Spring Crush
Slow Dance
The Other Side of Desire
Dolls Can’t Talk


National Jewish Book Award Finalist

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