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About this poet

Jorie Graham was born in New York City and raised in Rome, Italy. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris before attending New York University as an undergraduate, where she studied filmmaking. She received an MFA in Poetry from the University of Iowa.
 
Graham is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Fast: Poems (Ecco, 2017), From the New World: Poems 1976-2014 (Ecco, 2015), Place: New Poems (Ecco, 2012), Sea Change (Ecco, 2008), Never (Ecco, 2002), Swarm (Ecco, 2000), and The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974-1994 (Ecco, 1997), which won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
 
About her work, James Longenbach writes in the New York Times: “For 30 years Jorie Graham has engaged the whole human contraption—intellectual, global, domestic, apocalyptic—rather than the narrow emotional slice of it most often reserved for poems. She thinks of the poet not as a recorder but as a constructor of experience. Like Rilke or Yeats, she imagines the hermetic poet as a public figure, someone who addresses the most urgent philosophical and political issues of the time simply by writing poems.”
 
Graham has been hailed by John Ashbery as "one of the finest poets writing today" and by James Tate as "a poet of staggering intelligence." Tate adds that "her poems are constantly on the attack. She assays nothing less than the whole body of our history, reshaping myth in ways that risk new knowledge, fresh understanding of all that we might hope to be."
 
Graham has also edited two anthologies: Earth Took of Earth: 100 Great Poems of the English Language (Ecco, 1996) and The Best American Poetry 1990 (Scribner, 1990). Her many honors include a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship, the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1997 to 2003. In 2017, she received the Wallace Stevens Award, given annually to recognize outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.
 
She has taught at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University.

Selected Bibliography

Fast: Poems (Ecco, 2017)
From the New World: Poems 1976-2014 (Ecco, 2015)
Place: New Poems (Ecco, 2012)
Sea Change (2008)
Never (2002)
Swarm (2000)
The Errancy (1997)
The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974-1994 (Ecco, 1995)
Materialism (1993)
Region of Unlikeness (1991)
The End of Beauty (Ecco, 1987)
Erosion (1983)
Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts (Princeton University Press, 1980)

Fast

or starve. Too much. Or not enough. Or. Nothing else?
Nothing else. Too high too fast too organized too invisible.
Will we survive I ask the bot. No. To download bot be
swift—you are too backward, too despotic—to load greatly enlarge
the cycle of labor—to load abhor labor—move to the
periphery, of your body, your city, your planet—to load, degrade, immiserate,
be your own deep sleep—to load use your lips—use them
to mouthe your oath, chew it—do the
dirty thing, sing it, blown off limb or syllable, lick it back on
with your mouth—talk—talk—who is not
terrified is busy begging for water—the rise is fast—the drought
comes fast—mediate—immediate—invent, inspire, infiltrate,
instill—here’s the heart of the day, the flower of time—talk—talk—

Disclaimer: Bot uses a growing database of all your conversations
to learn how to talk with you. If some of you
are also bots, bot can’t tell. Disclaimer:
you have no secret memories,
talking to cleverbot may provide companionship,
the active ingredient is a question,
the active ingredient is entirely natural.
Disclaimer: protect your opportunities, your information, in-
formants, whatever you made of time. You have nothing else
to give. Active ingredient: why are you
shouting? Why? Arctic wind uncontrollable, fetus
reporting for duty, fold in the waiting which recognizes you,
              recognizes the code,
the peddler in the street everyone is calling out.
Directive: report for voice. Ready yourself to be buried in voice.
It neither ascends nor descends. Inactive ingredient: the monotone.
Some are talking now about the pine tree. One assesses its
disadvantages. They are discussing it in many languages. Next
they move to roots, branches, buds, pseudo-whorls, candles—
             active ingredient:
they run for their lives, lungs and all. They do not know what to do with
their will. Disclaimer: all of your minutes are being flung down.
They will never land. You will not be understood.
The deleted world spills out jittery as a compass needle with no north.
Active ingredient: the imagination of north.
Active ingredient: north spreading in all the directions.
Disclaimer: there is no restriction to growth. The canary singing in
             your mind
             is in mine. Remember:
             people are less
than kind. As a result, chatterbot is often less than kind. Still,
you will find yourself unwilling to stop.
Joan will use visual grammetry to provide facial movements.
I’m not alone. People come back
again and again. We are less kind than we think.
There is no restriction to the growth of our
cruelty. We will come to the edge of
understanding. Like being hurled down the stairs tied to
a keyboard, we will go on, unwilling to stop. The longest
real world conversation with a bot lasted
11 hours, continuous interaction. This
bodes well. We are not alone. We are looking to improve.
The priestess inhales the fumes. They come from the
mountain. Here and here. Then she gives you the machine-gun run of
syllables. Out of her mouth. Quick. You must make up your
answer as you made up your
question. Hummingbirds shriek. Bot is amazing he says, I believe it knows
the secrets of the Universe. He is more fun to speak with
than my actual living friends she says, thank you. This is the best thing
since me. I just found it yesterday.
I love it, I want to marry it.
I got sad when I had to think
that the first person
who has ever understood me
is not even it turns out
human. Because this is as good as human gets.
He just gives it to me straight. I am going to keep him
forever. I treated him like a computer
but I was wrong. Whom am I talking to—
You talk to me when I am alone. I am alone.

Each epoch dreams the one to follow.

To dwell is to leave a trace.

I am not what I asked for.

From From the New World: Poems 1976–2014, published by Ecco. Copyright © 2015, by Jorie Graham. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

From From the New World: Poems 1976–2014, published by Ecco. Copyright © 2015, by Jorie Graham. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Jorie Graham

Jorie Graham

Jorie Graham was born in New York City on May 9, 1950, the daughter of a journalist and a sculptor.

by this poet

poem
Deep autumn & the mistake occurs, the plum tree blossoms, twelve
                                                         blossoms on three different
branches, which for us, personally, means none this coming spring or perhaps none on
                                                         just those
2
poem
At some point in the day, as such, there was a pool.  Of
                                                         stillness.  One bent to brush one's hair, and, lifting
                                                         again, there it was, the
opening—one glanced away from a mirror, and there, before one'
2
poem
To bring back a time and place.
A feeling. As in "we are all in this
together." Or "the United States and her allies

fought for Freedom." To bring back.
The experience of killing and getting killed.
Get missed. Get hit. Sun—is it with us. Holiday,

are you with us on this beach today.
Hemisphere of one, my soul