Information about the poet.
For this major collection, spanning twenty years of writing, Jorie Graham has made a generous selection from her five previous volumes of poetry: Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts, Erosion, The End of Beauty, Region of Unlikeness, and Materialism.
In Place, Graham explores the ways in which our imagination, intuition, and experience—increasingly devalued by a culture that regards them as “mere” subjectivity—aid us in navigating a world moving blindly towards its own annihilation and a political reality where the human person and its dignity are increasingly disposable. Throughout, Graham seeks out sites of wakeful resistance and achieved presence. From the natural world to human sensation, the poems test the unstable congeries of the self, and the creative tensions that exist within and between our inner and outer landscapes—particularly as these are shaped by language.
Beginning with a poem dated June 5th, placed on Omaha Beach, in Normandy—the anniversary of the day before the “historical” events of June 6th—Place is made up of meditations written in a uneasy lull before an unknowable, potentially…[more]
The New York Times has said that “Jorie Graham’s poetry is among the most sensuously embodied and imaginative writing we have,” and this new collection is a reminder of how startling, original, and deeply relevant her poetry is. In Sea Change, Graham brings us to the once-unimaginable threshold at which civilization as we know it becomes unsustainable. How might the human spirit persist, caught between its abiding love of beauty, its acknowledgment of continuing injury and damage done, and the realization that the existence of a “future” itself may no longer be assured?
There is no better writer to confront such crucial matters than Jorie Graham. In addition to her recognized achievements as a poet of philosophical, aesthetic, and moral concerns, Graham has also been acknowledged as “our most formidable nature poet” (Publishers Weekly). As gorgeous and formally inventive as anything she has written, Sea Change is an essential work speaking out for our planet and the world we have known.
In Materialism, her fifth collection, Jorie Graham undertakes a daring book-length meditation on the nature of our restless relationship with matter. With her trade-mark sagacity and vision, Graham unites the complex principles of science and philosophy with a startling array of tangible forms: a man praying in a downtown bakeshop; a crowd at an abortion rally; a survivor of the Stalinist regime alone in her dance studio.
In this stunning sequence of poems, first published in 1991, Pulitzer Prize-winner Jorie Graham peels away at the “ever-tighter wrappings/of the layers of the/real” to expose the intimate interactions of our inner and outer lives. It is metaphysical poetry of the first order where questions of Being and Time fully inhabit the mundane world of nursing homes, cabarets, elevators, and insane asylums.