Jorie Graham

Jorie Graham, the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974-94. Her other collections include The End of Beauty, P L A C E and RunawayTo 2040 came out last year.

The spacesbetweenthings beganspeaking. So it was

I understood Iwas nowto remainsilent. Saw how

we were allplungedinto this new strengtheningsilence. Was it

vision was it

catastrophe. This

first personI use hereas a way of referringto my being in

abeyance – to myunknowing –though who are we kidding,it was not of the radiant kind

where we wait in linewillinglyeyes closedfor the tap on the...

Poem: ‘Before’

Jorie Graham, 30 November 2023

it came, before the turn in the cherishedwind, what we called history, the turntowards, all of it more and moretowards – what is it that iscoming – must come – unfathomable, unbreakable – you want it so, yourfuture, no thefuture, sobadly – you standon the threshold of your century as on a highparapet, brush in hand, a ladder wrinkling the air as it rises,a kind of...

Poem: ‘In Reality’

Jorie Graham, 30 March 2023

the river was still widening as it went, as it carried me, thick mists risingoff it all day,was still widening, yes, for a while longer, holdingthe sky in its belly and back,me on my back in the small ofmy boat, rudder jammed, oarlost or is it I tossed itsome long time agowhen I imagined myselfto be free. In the distance I see, reflected in the spooling,a pair of spyglasses liftedby the...

Poem: ‘Then the Rain’

Jorie Graham, 2 February 2023

Then the Rain

after years of virga, aftermuch almost& much never again, aftercoalescing in dry

lightning & downdrafts & fire,after taking an alternatepath thruhistory & bypassing

us, after the trees,after the gardens,after the hard seedspushed in as deep as

possible & kept alive on dew,after the rutswhich it had once cutfilled in with

dust & moulds – & podsthat...

Poem: ‘The Quiet’

Jorie Graham, 22 September 2022

before the storm isthe storm. Our waiting tunnelling outward, chewing at the as-yet-not-here, wild,& in it thenot-yet,that phantom, hovering, scribbling hints in the dusty airshafts where weawait rain whichonce again will not come, though something we think of as the stormwill. Steeped in no-colour colour. Smothering hopes with falsepromises, as wind comes up and we feel our soul turn...

The new volume of poems by my Harvard colleague Jorie Graham, in its US edition, bears on its jacket a detail from Vermeer’s The Astronomer, showing the hand of the astronomer as it...

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Accidents of Priority

John Redmond, 22 August 1996

Famous poems, like faces, are a particularly memorable kind of introduction to the person they conceal. Like other kinds of introduction, they are often what we remember a person for, or what we...

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