[To] the Last [Be] Human by Graham, Jorie

[To] the Last [Be] Human

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[To] The Last [Be] Human collects four
extraordinary poetry books--Sea Change, Place, Fast, and Runaway--by
Pulitzer Prize winner Jorie Graham.

From the introduction by Robert Macfarlane:

The earliest of the poems in this tetralogy were written at
373 parts per million of atmospheric CO2, and the most recent at 414 parts per
million; that is to say, in the old calendar, 2002 and 2020 respectively. The
body of work gathered here stands as an extraordinary lyric record of those
eighteen calamitous years: a glittering, teeming Anthropocene journal, written
from within the New Climatic Regime (as Bruno Latour names the present), rife
with hope and raw with loss, lush and sparse, hard to parse and hugely powerful
to experience ... Graham's poems are turned to face our planet's deep-time
future, and their shadows are cast by the long light of the will-have-been. But
they are made of more durable materials than granite and concrete, they are
very far from passive, and their tasks are of record as well as warning: to
preserve what it has felt like to be a human in these accelerated years when
'the future / takes shape / too quickly, ' when we are entering 'a time / beyond
belief.' They know, these poems, and what they tell is precise to their form....
Sometimes they are made of ragged, hurting, hurtling, and body-fleeing
language; other times they celebrate the sheer, shocking, heart-stopping gift
of the given world, seeing light, tree, sea, skin, and star as a 'whirling robe
humming with firstness, ' there to 'greet you if you eye-up.'

I know not to mistake the pleasures of this poetry for
presentist consolation; the situation has moved far beyond that: 'Wind would be
nice but / it's only us shaking.' ... To read these four twenty-first-century
books together in a single volume is to experience vastly complex patterns
forming and reforming in mind, eye, and ear. These poems sing within
themselves, between one another, and across collections, and the song that
joins them all is uttered simply in the first lines of the last poem of the
last book:


The earth said


remember me.


The earth said


don't let go,


said it one day


when I was


accidentally


listening...



Author: Jorie Graham
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
Published: 09/06/2022
Pages: 336
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 1.4lbs
Size: 9.00h x 7.30w x 1.20d
ISBN: 9781556596605


Review Citation(s):
Publishers Weekly 09/19/2022

About the Author

Jorie Graham is the author of a dozen 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.


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