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Publication Type:

Magazine Article

Authors:

Lau, David

Source:

Bookforum, Artforum, Volume 024, Issue 03, New York, NY (2017)

URL:

https://www.bookforum.com/inprint/024_03/18467

Abstract:

With electrifying tension and sustained energy, Jorie Graham’s demanding poems assemble ancient and contemporary materials. Adapting Wallace Stevens’s philosophical mode, they are poems of the act of the mind—a subject-spirit both metaphysical and resolutely disillusioned. Graham’s persona is part Antigone keeping faith in a damaged world, part transcendental apperception. Designed to take the reader into depths, her works …

Full Text:

Here There Be Monsters
A poet of the End Times accelerates into an unimaginable future

DAVID LAU

FAST BY JORIE GRAHAM NEW YORK: ECCO. 96 PAGES. $26

With electrifying tension and sustained energy, Jorie Graham’s demanding poems assemble ancient and contemporary materials. Adapting Wallace Stevens’s philosophical mode, they are poems of the act of the mind—a subject-spirit both metaphysical and resolutely disillusioned. Graham’s persona is part Antigone keeping faith in a damaged world, part transcendental apperception. Designed to take the reader into depths, her works also defy the anticipations embedded in their topical frames and pointed digressions (she takes on exploitation of the oceans, the Islamic State, cryogenesis, digital “second” life), which are “yes abstract but not so much there is no / torture,” as she puts it in “Incarnation.” This is creaturely work pained with “shapes” (a preferred term of hers) of the possible future that won’t quite come.

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