By Jorie Graham
Ecco Press, Paperback, 9780060084721, 128pp.
Publication Date: March 4, 2003
Jorie Graham's collection of poems, Never, primarily addresses concern over our environment in crisis. One of the most challenging poets writing today, Graham is no easy read, but the rewards are well worth the effort. While thematically present, her concern is not exclusively the demise of natural resources and depletion of species, but the philosophical and perceptual difficulty in capturing and depicting a physical world that may be lost, or one that we humans have limited sight of and into. As she notes in "The Taken-Down God": "We wish to not be erased from the / picture. We wish to picture the erasure. The human earth and its appearance. / The human and its disappearance."
With a style that is fragmented and somewhat whirling--language dips and darts and asides are taken--Graham stays on point and presents an honest intellect at work, fumbling for an accurate understanding (or description) of the natural world, self-conscious about the limitations of language and perception.
“[Never] shows Graham to be a most formidable nature poet, finding…perfect analogues for states of consciousness.”
“Graham’s inventive, gracefully longitudinal, lush yet demanding meditations on the nature of being are exquisitely piquant and affecting.”
“Graham’s poetry is among the most sensuously embodied and imaginative writing we have.”
-New York Times Book Review
“Graham is one of the most important living poets, and her control of her craft is undisputed.”