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Sea Change
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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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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.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Graham's 12th collection of poetry can be daunting. A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Harvard professor, Graham fuses the philosophical and the colloquial with the surreal in a style characterized by lengthy sentences-some containing nearly 400 words. Arranging fragments, clauses, and prepositional phrases, these long-lined, collagelike poems often end with a striking final image, as Graham meditates breathlessly on everything from nature to politics to the act of imagining. The result is a very literary language poetry-there are echoes of W.H. Auden, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Marianne Moore, among others. Like Auden, whose "Musee des Beaux Arts," is none too subtly referenced here, Graham looks at the bleak side of life. Like Hopkins, she coins words such as "lightshafts" and combines words, as in "leaf-glittering, shadow-mad," to produce a metaphor-driven stream-of-consciousness effect. Like Moore, Graham seems fond of lists, especially of vivid nouns; ultimately, she presents what Moore described as "the raw material of poetry" as opposed to the poem itself. Recommended for academic libraries only.-Diane Scharper, Towson Univ., MD Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Sea Change is among Graham's most powerful books."--Time Out New York "Graham confronts modern wickedness torture and global warming are two themes in lush, sometimes hymnlike verse, A-."--Entertainment Weekly "Jorie Graham's status as a canonic poet - of the academic breed, with a flair for blending the intellectual and the sensual - is virtually guaranteed."--San Francisco Chronicle "[Never] declares that the artistic task of becoming, once begun, continues on."--New York Times Book Review "Jorie Graham's intricate, sophisticated, and mercurial poems have long been one of the splendors of contemporary American literature. In her latest book, she turns her attention to death, and the result is perhaps her finest collection yet."--Village Voice "Graham is one of the most important living poets, and her control of her craft is undisputed."--Library Journal "[Never] shows Graham to be a most formidable nature poet."--Publishers Weekly Jorie Graham s status as a canonic poet of the academic breed, with a flair for blending the intellectual and the sensual is virtually guaranteed. --San Francisco Chronicle" Sea Change is among Graham s most powerful books. --Time Out New York" 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. --Publishers Weekly (starred review)" Stunning... Forthright, compassionate and ironic, Graham has crafted poems of lyrical steeliness and cauterizing beauty... Graham writes with breathtaking precision. --Booklist (starred review)" [Never] shows Graham to be a most formidable nature poet. --Publishers Weekly" Graham is one of the most important living poets, and her control of her craft is undisputed. --Library Journal" [Never] declares that the artistic task of becoming, once begun, continues on. --New York Times Book Review" Graham confronts modern wickedness torture and global warming are two themes in lush, sometimes hymnlike verse, A-. --Entertainment Weekly" Jorie Graham s intricate, sophisticated, and mercurial poems have long been one of the splendors of contemporary American literature. In her latest book, she turns her attention to death, and the result is perhaps her finest collection yet. --Village Voice" "Stunning... Forthright, compassionate and ironic, Graham has crafted poems of lyrical steeliness and cauterizing beauty... Graham writes with breathtaking precision."--Booklist (starred review) "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."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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