Jorie Graham's latest book of sometimes searing poetry (one poem begins with a "cadaver beginning to show through the skin of the day") will capture your attention. The title poem, which dwells on "the unknown future" is not the most engaging poem, but it shocks readers out of complacency and into a world where all safety is submerged. This is not necessarily a new idea. Permanence, after all, was never promised.
"The desire to imagine/ the future" runs through one of my favorite poems in Sea Change. "Root End" towards the end of the book delves into the possibility of language and life:
what is this growing inside of me, using me -- such that the
wind can no longer blow through me -- such that the dream in me grows cellular, then
muscular, my eyes red, my birth a thing I convey
down this spiral staircase
made of words, made of
nothing but words --
Knowing that nothing is promised is one of the undercurrents of this work. The trick is to go on trusting in imagination and calm. As always, Jorie Graham manages to keep faithful readers enraptured by this delicate trust.