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The 1996 Pulitzer winner in poetry and a major collection, Jorie Graham's The Dream of the United Field: Selected Poems, 1974-1994 spans twenty years of writing and includes generous selections from her first five books.
"How I would like to catch the world / at pure idea," writes Jorie Graham, for whom a bird may be an alphabet, and flight an arc. Whatever the occasion--and her work offers a rich profusion of them--the poems reach to where possession is not within us, where new names are needed and meaning enlarged. Hence, what she sees reminds her of what is missing, and what she knows suggests what she cannot. From any event, she arcs bravely into the farthest reaches of mind. Fast readers will have trouble, but so what. To the good reader afraid of complexity, I would offer the clear trust that must bond us to such signal poems as (simply to cite three appearing in a row) "Mother's Sewing Box," "For My Father Looking for My Uncle," and "The Chicory Comes Out Late August in Umbria." Finally, the poet's words again: ". . . you get / just what you want" and (just before that), "Just as / from time to time / we need to seize again / the whole language / in search of / better desires."--Marvin Bell
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.
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