The River Twice

Kathleen Graber. Princeton Univ., $17.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-0-691-19321-2
The erudite third book from Graber (Correspondence) is a bereaved and redemptive meditation on impermanence. Drawing from daily news coverage and the world of art, she interweaves the dystopian trajectory of modern media with intimate yet ubiquitous pathos. Graber’s style is both playful and plaintive, dry and whimsical, and most painfully adept while playing off the rhetoric of modern propaganda, such as the Trump administration’s embrace of the word fake: “The day’s news offers/ again the relentless brutality of its sad, un-fake facts.” Graber asks readers to “Imagine a field composed of the crosshatches/ of hashtags, like crop circles in prairies waiting/ to be mined by an algorithm for big data,” and then juxtaposes this cyberspace nightmare with a metaphor for nature’s own mysterious coding: “The snow, glowing at night, could be/ a radiant, unread scripture from another world.” In the book’s most vulnerable moment, she reflects on personal loss: “Both of my feet could easily fit/ into one of his shoes. And did. For a long time,/ I have carried a great coldness that once/ belonged to him. When he died, it somehow/ slid in.” She challenges herself to reclaim agency, asking: “Why each of us seems to wake some mornings/ asking, Why can’t I just do whatever I want?” Readers will find Graber’s reflections on a perpetually transforming world relevant, astutely analytic, and deeply felt. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 09/11/2019
Release date: 09/01/2019
Genre: Poetry
Hardcover - 112 pages - 978-0-691-19320-5
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