Brown, Joseph A. “Their Long Scars Touch Ours: A Reflection on the Poetry of Michael Harper.” Callaloo 9, no. 1 (1986): 209-220. One of the several pieces on Harper to be found in this particular journal, this one provides a succinct, useful overview of Harper’s themes and sense of history.
Dodd, Elizabeth. “The Great Rainbow Swamp: History as Moral Ecology in the Poetry of Michael S. Harper.” In Beyond Nature Writings: Expanding the Boundaries of Ecocriticism, edited by Karla Armbruster and Kathleen Wallace. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2001. A discussion of Harper’s poetry from a moral-historical perspective.
Harper, Michael S. “The Map and the Territory: An Interview with Michael S. Harper.” Interview by Michael Antonucci. African American Review 34, no. 3 (Fall, 2000): 501-508. Harper refers back to statements in earlier interviews and clarifies his position on poets as historians and other matters. Comments on Robert Hayden, the legacy of John Brown, Ralph Ellison, African American cultural heroes, and several of his own poems.
Harris, Judith. “God Don’t Like Ugly: Michael S. Harper’s Soul-Making Music.” In Signifying Pain: Constructing and Healing the Self Through Writing. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003. Harris explores the cultural significance of the musical dimension in Harper’s poetry.
Lerner, Ben. To Cut Is to Heal: A Critical Companion to Michael S. Harper’s “Debridement.” Providence, R.I.: Paradigm Press, 2000. Clarifies difficult aspects of Harper’s book. Includes an interview with the poet as well as an in-depth essay by Scott Saul.
Schettler, Meta. “Going to the Territory with Jay Wright and Michael Harper: Explorations of Black History and Culture.” Obsidian 7, no. 2 (Fall, 2006): 53-61. Examines how Harper and Wright use diverging techniques to understand African American culture by examining the past.
Seaman, Donna. Review of Use Trouble. Booklist 105, no. 11 (February 1, 2009): 22. Favorable review terms the volume a “virtuosic, symphonic, embracive collection” that acts as “a memoir, a reader’s notebook, a professor’s lesson plan, a family scrapbook, and a poet’s book of gratitude.”
Sharp, Ronald A. Introduction to Selected Poems, by Michael S. Harper. Todmorden, Lancashire, England: Arc, 2002. Sharp relates a few revealing biographical anecdotes and provides some critical insights about Harper’s indebtedness to John Keats and his concept of “negative capability.”