“An American original . . . [Harrison’s] writing bears earthy whiffs of wild morels and morals and of booze and botany, as well as hints of William Faulkner, Louise Erdrich, Herman Melville, and Norman Maclean. There is a robust reflectiveness and sheer delight to Harrison’s prose. . . . A luminous, heartwarming reminder of what literature can achieve.” —Heller McAlpin, San Francisco Chronicle

“Dear President Obama: . . . As squabbling increases among those who know and ignorance blossoms among the unread, our country seems to be lurching toward a new variety of disarray and duality, the kind of country that John Dos Passos remarks on [when] he exclaims, ‘Yes, we are two Americas’ — I would like to nominate Jim Harrison for the post of Secretary of Quality of Life. Mr. President, . . . this Michigan writer who has studied in the East and now apparently lives in the Southwest, knows life in a way that few will admit to, and writes about it in a ribald, vigorous, and intelligent fashion. I don’t know a better antidote to all of the foolish repressive ideas and customs generated in our neo-puritanical society than reading the beautifully narrated and vital fiction of Jim Harrison. I don’t know an American writer who displays more boldly his gusto and love of life. . . . Jim Harrison . . . is, I hope you’ll agree, sir, a national treasure.” —Alan Cheuse, The Chicago Tribune

“No one has advanced and expanded the American literary ethos in the latter part ;of the twentieth century more cogently, usefully, and just plain brilliantly than Jim Harrison. . . . This is a matter to which all literate Americans should pay serious attention.” —Hayden Carruth

“Harrison has been prowling the literary edges for four decades now, stubbornly eluding the snares of critical reduction—including such dim taggings as ‘macho’ and ‘regional’—while producing a body of work so lushly idiosyncratic as to thwart even the gentlest efforts at classification.” —Jonathan Miles, Salon

“Harrison has quietly established one of the deeper canons in modern American letters.” —William Porter, The Denver Post

“Somewhere in that big literary acreage staked out by Thoreau, Hemingway, and Hunter Thompson is a chunk of space for Jim Harrison.” —Playboy

“If [Jim Harrison’s] style can be as clean and clear as [Willa] Cather’s, he writes with [William] Faulkner’s voluble, untidy spilling forth. . . . The past twenty-five years has been a timid time in American writing, pinched and cramped by ideology and theory, a time of rules and warnings. Harrison abides by none of these.” —William Corbett, The Boston Phoenix on True North

“A wholly winning book, a compendium of wonderful anecdotes and observations holding together marvelously and giving a fine, clear sense of its author . . . As fine a portrait of the species American writer as we’re ever likely to have.” —James Sallis, The Boston Globe on Off to the Side


National Endowment for the Arts grant (1967, 1968, 1969)
Guggenheim fellowship (1969)

A Day With Jim Harrison