OVERLORD

Jorie Graham, Author . Ecco $22.95 (112p) ISBN 978-0-06-074565-3

The title for Graham's best book in at least a decade introduces several obsessions at once: it's the code name for American plans on D-Day, a sign for the absence—or perhaps presence—of an omnipotent God, and a term for arrogant nations (the U.S. among them) who have forgotten, or never learned, the lessons of the Greatest Generation. Graham, who won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for The Dream of the Unified Field , pursues familiar metaphysical questions through the long lines and longer sentences of meditations such as "Upon Emergence": "Have I that to which to devote my/ self? Have I devotion?"; a series of poems with the title "Praying" take the question to its ends, often ending up angry, guilty or shocked. One anecdotal poem depicts her trying and failing to feed a homeless man; a more abstract effort imagines "a horrible labyrinth, this/ history of ours. No/ opening." Most striking of all are works closely tied to D-Day, to Normandy (where Graham now spends part of each year) and to servicemen's own testimony, which casts contemporary fears into ironic relief: "Are you at war or at peace," Graham asks, "or are war and peace/ playing their little game over your dead body?" The vague, notebook-like qualities of Graham's last few efforts baffled some admirers, who will likely, and rightly, see these clear and powerful poems as a return to form. (Mar. 2)

Reviewed on: 01/24/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
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FORMATS
Ebook - 112 pages - 978-0-06-210590-5
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-1-85754-820-4
Paperback - 93 pages - 978-0-06-075811-0
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