A New York Times Notable Book
Pulitzer Prize winner Jorie Graham returns with great clarity and passion to her lyrical roots—and builds a rich musical meditation on desire.
In these poems, Graham approaches a host of characters, each of them an embodiment of sexual, emotional, political, or spiritual desire—desire searching for its place in an age of betrayed values, an age when dreaming has been rubbed thin by reason, frayed by the speed of facts.
Here error is explored as an heroic form of finding one’s way—a wandering toward truth, a pilgrimage guided by the body’s strictest longing, here lovers stay alive in sexually-charged encounters; here, too, angels are overheard muttering warnings. Here are Pascal and his wager, Akhmatova and her refusal, and a few soldiers sleeping before a sepulcher while something incomprehensible happens behind their backs.
Provocative in its spirited merging of the sacred and the skeptical, the celestial and the earthly, The Errancy confirms Graham as “one of our best, most important” poets (Library Journal) and “one of the best, and most intelligent, poets in the language” (Times Literary Supplement).
About the Author
Jorie Graham is the author of fourteen collections of poems. She has been widely translated and has been the recipient of numerous awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize, the Forward Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and the International Nonino Prize. She lives in Massachusetts and teaches at Harvard University.
"A recent profile of Graham in The New Yorker places her in the lineage of Eliot, Bishop, and Ashbery rather than William Carlos Williams or Robert Creeley, but it might be posited that her capacious talent now draws on all these examples: the bodiless virtuosity of formal mastery has met the flexibility and passion of the mind and eye at liberty. The Errancy is what might be called, among the Quakers, a leading: Graham shows us a future direction in American poetry, and that future is a welcome place." — Harvard Review
"Few poets address the predicament of the postmodern soul as rigorously or as intelligently as Graham .. ..'an icy thing, even in its fluency,' this masterful collection takes risks in naming 'the small hole inside I'm supposed to love' and coldly, bleakly and dazzlingly succeeds." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"For two decades now, Graham's poems have been exercising the major muscles in the throat of our language. If you haven't been listening, I'm telling you there's a new music out there, and this book, The Errancy, is its finest performance." — The Boston Book Review