From ‘Treadmill’, by Jorie Graham

30 March 2014

The road keeps accepting us.


That is the first, and most memorable, line of the poem – because that is exactly what the road on a long journey does. I struggled a bit with the volume this poem is from, PLACE, which won the 2012 Forward Prize: I don’t think I had the time to give it that is needed if one is to enjoy its unfolding images and associations, and my experience of the first few poems in particular was completely out of step with the transformative experience promised in the quotes used in the blurb. And in that blurb itself, this: “a book of poems written in the uneasy lull of a world moving towards an unknowable future.” I’m sure the blurb writer was pretty pleased with that sentence, but the future is never knowable, and the description could apply to any number of poets. However, there is a real treat at the end: the penultimate poem Lapse, readable here. It has a clarity of subject that much of the collection lacks, and real tenderness.

[Read in PLACE, published by Carcanet Press.]


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