Dream of the Unified Field

Jorie Graham, Author Ecco $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-88001-438-0
Graham's complex, faceted poems glint powerfully with compressed energy and suggest another meaning for the term atmospheric pressure. Her rendering of experience yields a dense, layered vision in which simplicity is rarely found and conclusions are likely to be double-edged. In ``Imperialism,'' concerned with shadows and a difficult relationship, she recalls being taken to Calcutta as a child where, ``to know the world,'' she must observe the funeral pyres and later step into the Ganges (``utensils and genitalia and incandescent linens--(I was nine)--''). Elsewhere a photo of a Holocaust atrocity takes on, in its description and its context, a necessary semblance of beauty: ""`I`ll give ten thousand dollars to the man/ who proves the holocaust really/ occurred,'"" she quotes. Themes and imagery recur: birds, angels, wings, madness; hands at work, passions political and personal. Graham's keen interest in paintings yields a continual shifting of the thin border between art and life. In ``The Phase After History,'' two birds trapped inside a house--which suggests self-consciousness or a page--fly at the windows seeking escape, while on one floor a man takes up a knife to slice off his face. Too compact for a single reading, this selection from previous collections provides several ``self portraits'' that help give her thought grounding. This volume is perfectly orchestrated, each poem extending the poem before it. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/1995
Release date: 11/01/1995
Show other formats
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-88001-476-2
Paperback - 220 pages - 978-1-85754-225-7
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-210591-2
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.