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Place: New Poems Paperback – April 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In Place, Graham explores the ways in which our imagination, intuition, and experience—increasingly devalued by a culture that regards them as "mere" subjectivity—aid us in navigating a world moving blindly towards its own annihilation and a political reality where the human person and its dignity are increasingly disposable. Throughout, Graham seeks out sites of wakeful resistance and achieved presence. From the natural world to human sensation, the poems test the unstable congeries of the self, and the creative tensions that exist within and between our inner and outer landscapes—particularly as these are shaped by language.

Beginning with a poem dated June 5th, placed on Omaha Beach, in Normandy—the anniversary of the day before the "historical" events of June 6th—Place is made up of meditations written in a uneasy lull before an unknowable, potentially drastic change—meditations which enact and explore the role of the human in and on nature. In these poems, time lived is felt to be both incipient, and already posthumous. This is not the same as preparing for a death. It is preparing for a life we know we, and our offspring, shall have no choice but to live. How does one think ethically as well as emotionally in such a predicament? How does one think of one's child—of having brought a person into this condition? How does love continue, and how is it supposed to be transmitted? Does the nature of love change?

Both formally and thematically poems of ec(h)o-location in space/time, Graham's new poems work to discern "aftermath" from "future"—as the two margins of the form ask us to feel the vertiginous "double" position in which we find ourselves, constantly looking back just as we are forced to try to see ahead.

In an era where distrust of human experience and its attendant accountability are pervasive Place calls us, in poems of unusual force and beauty, to re-inhabit and make full use of—and even rejoice in—a more responsive and responsible place of the human in the world.

About the Author

Jorie Graham is the author of eleven collections of poems. Her poetry, widely translated, has been the recipient of numerous awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize, the Forward Prize (UK), and the International Nonino Prize. She lives in Massachusetts and teaches at Harvard University.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780062190642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062190642
  • ASIN: 0062190644
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jorie Graham is the author of eleven collections of poetry, including The Dream of the Unified Field, which won the Pulitzer Prize. She divides her time between western France and Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she teaches at Harvard University. Graham is the first woman to hold the Boylston professorship in the Department of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard, a chair with an illustrious lineage dating back to John Quincy Adams. She was the unanimous choice of a special interdepartmental search committee formed to replace Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, who held the position previously.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Quantum Pig on April 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
Graham has created yet another masterpiece that is a must-have collection for anyone that understands and respects poetry. Each poem has its own unique details and carefully chosen words that somehow convince the reader's mind to create and craft the world the author envisions. The writing takes a life of its own, and page after page, I found myself going back to re-read lines that still had lasting impact on my thoughts.

If you are new to poetry, you could not do any better than picking up this book. But be careful, because once you start turning the pages, you will be unable to stop.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By GiuliaA on April 30, 2012
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"Place" is deeply moving--written from an infinity within and beyond the self. It speaks to departure--to how there is no possible re-entry in Time; it tries the transcendental; it pushes its way towards life; it accepts that there is hope even where there is "no hope to turn again". it is by turns exciting, humbling and makes one deeply grateful to be alive".
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Timeandpeasants on April 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
One of the most important literary minds, a true master! Written with such grace and intimacy-- a truly brilliant collection of poems, I highly recommend this unforgettable book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Cohen on February 14, 2013
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"Place" is my vote for the best book of poetry in 2012. It's actually the best book of poetry that I've read in recent memory bar none. Jorie Graham's work can be notoriously difficult, but this book is immensely readable and a real joy. If you have any interest in her work, you should definitely check it out. And if you've never read her work, it's a great starting place.

The last book by Graham that I picked up was "Sea Change." There were a couple poems from that volume that had been published in Poetry magazine that I thought were really impressive. But the book itself was a slog in part because of its pretentions (and a lot of meandering, weak poems).

But "Place" is not like that at all and might be her best, most down-to-earth book (I can't say with certainty because I haven't read all of her work). Some standout poems include "Sundown," "Mother and Child (The Road at the Edge of the Field," and "Dialogue (of the Imagination's Fear)." These poems are all dynamite. And while every poem in the book doesn't knock it out of the park, the vast majority do.
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Jorie Graham's "Place," one of the finest achievements of her poetic career, is a collection intense in the reading, demanding the most acute focus, but rewarding with moments that make us see the world anew in its most exhilarating detail. Though its thesis is the depersonalization of society--the way institutions war against the individual soul--she finds her way (and ours) through to personal consolation by attending to the myriad beauties of the quietest and most elemental experiences of living, laid open in the profoundly illuminating way that only she can. This tour-de-force validates Graham's position at the forefront of contemporary English language poetry. Incomparable achievement, incomparable beauty!
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By J.R. Bauer on March 26, 2015
Format: Paperback
A well-earned accolade as a poet who forces the reader to intellectualize her artistry, which is profound. The mental gymnastics are a welcome relief in an era marked by things Kardashian, selfies and texting while driving...Jorie Graham is an outstanding artist who creates imagery that resembles more a conversation on an ever-changing canvas, her palette poised to challenge, entertain, and edify our souls.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nicci on December 26, 2013
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The binding and paper are beautiful. The book is lovely to hold, but the poems aren't for me.

I know people who love it, and those people are perfectly reasonable, too.

Really, as with all poetry books, read a few. That's how you'll know.
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I love how each section here evolves from the prior; and each poem within, does likewise.

That is the way poetry should be: Continually growing & changing; aware of its limitations (of language), and continually transcending them.
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