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Swarm

2000
220 pages
Poetry
£8.95 (Trade PB)
Carcanet Press

:: selected poetry from Swarm ::

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S
warm
, Jorie Graham's eighth volume of poetry, is a book-length sequence which sets out to encounter destiny, Eros, and law. The poet confronts a fundamental problem: whom to address, whom there still is to address. She negotiates passionately with those powers that human beings feel themselves subject to: God, matter, law, custom, the force of love. She remains 'A poet of large ambitions and reckless music, ' as J.D. McClatchy wrote in the New York Times; she 'writes with a meta-physical flair and emotional power.'

'To swarm' is to leave a hive, a home, a stable sense of one's body, a hierarchy of values, in an attempt, apart, to found new forms that will hold. Key players in Graham's drama are the first person, the enjambement, the phrase, the gap, the sentence. And everywhere, lovers seek the borders they must break as well as those they must at all costs hold. Clytemnestra awaits Agamemnon, Calypso veils Ulysses, Daphne accepts Apollo: figures familiar from her earlier books reappear, eager to plead their stories into sense.

'We should be grateful to Jorie Graham for her own heroics of perception, even if they show up our ordinary insight. If we can't see, with Graham, "the spots where the birds must eventually land", at least we know now where we should be looking.'
-Gwyneth Lewis, Times Literary Supplement