Place

Jorie Graham. Ecco, $15.99 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-0-06-219064-2
Graham’s 12th book continues in the strong vein of her recent politically and environmentally concerned collections (Overlord and Sea Change), but adds a powerful thread about a parent’s apprehension that her child has grown and is inheriting the (broken) world. Graham remembers/ imagines, in her crenelated, consciousness-tracking style, that child swinging high on a swing set: “you shall never enter/ no matter how long time is—never—/ that gash you create in the evening air at your highest,/ your own unique opening/ which you can never fill,/ cannot ever crawl back through and out,/ except when that one moment comes and it will open and you will go....” Graham imagines herself as a child, too, when “the world opened its robe/ and you/ were free to look with/ no sense of/ excitement, no song, it is so simple.” She may well be at the height of her powers here, having developed a style that is both expansively public and deeply private, solipsistic and encompassing, and always beautifully sensitive to the capacities and failures of language to transform the world. For Graham, life’s most powerful experience may be ambivalence, as in competing passions, which becomes a startling kind of abundance: “your blood is full of/ barren fields, they are the/ future in you you/ should learn to feel and/ love: there will be no more: no more: not enough to go around: no more around: no/ more: love that. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/21/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
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Paperback - 978-1-84777-193-3
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