Sea Chage

Jorie Graham, Author . Ecco $23.95 (56p) ISBN 978-0-06-153717-2

Graham’s 11th collection contains what might be her most urgent and impassioned writing to date. These 19 poems continue Overlord ’s (2005) meditation on current political and social crises, but the relative composure and straightforwardness of that volume has given way to panic, breathlessness, vertigo and fracture: “life disturbing life, & it/ fussing all over us, like a confinement gone/ insane, blurring the feeling of/ the state of / being.” Humankind’s degradation of the environment and itself during wartime are Graham’s primary concerns, with the title referring specifically to the way in which an apparently small shift—an undercurrent’s “warming by 1 degree”—will bring forth ruin: “the in - / dispensable / plankton is forced north now, & yet further north,/ spawning too late for the cod larvae hatch, such/ that the hatch will not survive, nor the/ species in the end.” Here, the interconnectedness of all life isn’t just a spiritual commonplace, it is grounds for a call to action, and one that Graham—a poet of rare responsiveness to the natural world and a thinker of great ethical responsibility—is uniquely qualified to make. (Apr. )

Reviewed on: 03/17/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
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