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The Taken-Down God

Selected Poems 1997-2008

Jorie Graham

The Taken-Down God: New Selected Poems by Jorie Graham
10% off
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, American, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (144 pages)
(Pub. May 2013)
£14.95 £13.45
  • Description
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • Acclaimed as one of America’s most passionate and intelligent innovators, Jorie Graham writes poems of luminous formal beauty. Here she selects from the five books that preceded her 2012 Forward Prize-winning collection P L A C E, presenting European readers with a coherent and compelling body of work. The book complements her Pulitzer Prize-winning The Dream of the Unified Field (1996), which selected work from her first five books. Jorie Graham’s poems address a planet spinning towards an unknowable future. They challenge us to inhabit a more responsive and responsible place in language and the world. Her poetry is as urgent as it is essential.

    from The Errancy (1997)
    The Guardian Angel of the Little Utopia
    Untitled One
    The Guardian Angel of Self-Knowledge
    The Scanning
    That Greater Than Which Nothing
    Studies in Secrecy
    Le Manteau de Pascal
    Recovered from the Storm
    Of the Ever-Changing Agitation in the Air

    from Swarm (2000)
    from The Reformation Journal (1)
    The Veil
    Underneath (Sibylline)
    Middle Distance
    Prayer (after Hölderlin)
    Underneath (Calypso)
    Two Days
    The Swarm
    from The Reformation Journal (2)
    Underneath (13)

    from Never (2002)
    Dusk Shore Prayer
    Evolution [One’s nakedness is very slow]
    Evolution [How old are you?]

    from Overlord (2005)
    Dawn Day One
    Upon Emergence
    Little Exercise
    Praying (Attempt of May 9 ’03)
    Praying (Attempt of June 14 ’03)
    Spoken from the Hedgerows
    Praying (Attempt of April 19 ’04)

    from Sea Change (2008)
    Sea Change
    Later in Life
    Nearing Dawn
    Day Off
    Root End
    The Violinist at the Window, 1918
    Undated Lullaby
    No Long Way Round

    Jorie Graham was born in New York City in 1950, the daughter of a journalist and a sculptor. She was raised in Rome, Italy and educated in French schools. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris before attending New York University as an undergraduate, where she studied filmmaking. She received ... read more
    Awards won by Jorie Graham Winner, 2023  The Laurel Prize
    (To 2040)
    Commended, 2022 A Poetry Book Society Autumn Special Commendation
    ([To] the Last [Be] Human)
    Short-listed, 2021 The ASLE-UKI Book Prize for Ecological Writing
    Short-listed, 2020 The Neustadt International Prize for Literature
    Winner, 2018 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry (Fast) Winner, 2012 Forward Prize for Best Collection  (PLACE) Winner, 2017 Wallace Stevens Award for Lifetime Achievement  Commended, 2017 Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
    Winner, 1996 Pulitzer Prize
    (The Dream of the Unified Field)
    Short-listed, 2012 T S Eliot Prize () Short-listed, 2012 Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection ()
    Praise for Jorie Graham 'This is an urgent, vivacious book based in stark reality but written with craft and beauty.'
    Maria Crawford, Financial Times
    'To 2040 is a collection to be experienced in all its movements and formations. It articulates the collective undercurrents of our consciousness, leading us beyond the brinks of our experience, flooding us with existential concerns and threats. To 2040 further cements the might of Jorie Graham's poetic work and her immense, oracular vision, which is as astonishing as it is necessary.'
    Neha Mulay, The Adroit Journal
    'Graham is adept at this kind of philosophical, or, indeed neo-scientific, display... The result is blistering and overwhelming, a clear depiction of our extreme, accelerating existence.'
    Kate Simpson, The Poetry Review
    'The poems are invigorating in their formal inventiveness and precise use of language. The surprising lineation, extension of white space, erosion of words (you/u) and accretion of phrases have the effect of tuning us into Graham’s mind; we follow her thoughts as she wrestles with our wilful destruction of the earth, shot through with images of hope.'
    Jo Dixon, Everybody's Reviewing
    'The American writer's visionary 15th collection is one of her best books yet. These luminous poems consider the importance of attending to the wisdom nature offers us... A profound engagement with how our thinking about nature might change, and transform us in the process.'
    Rebecca Tamás, The Guardian
    'Of the many questions put throughout Jorie Graham's stunning new collection, To 2040, the first is the most urgent: "Are we / extinct yet."...The common shape of poems here is a precisely unbalanced four-line stanza: seldom do lines and phrases match, sentences spill across lines. It is the flow of intellect, the mind at work.'
    Stephen Sexton, Irish Times
    'In her new book, Graham's poems continue to exhort us to be present, and she has found a startlingly intimate way of situating an individual consciousness among its precarious cohabitants.'
    Walt Hunter, The Atlantic
    'What makes her work required reading is her readiness to go where angels fear to write, to do the terrifying work of visualising the future.... Every poem is an attempt at orientation - sometimes within a disorienting void. However considered Graham's revisions, the sense is of being in the moment with her - intimacy the closest thing to consolation.'

    Kate Kellaway, The Observer

    'Attempting to comment briefly on this visionary commotion is like trying to capture thunder and lightning in a bottle... This is a world beyond humanity, beyond nature, beyond culture, and yet amid the ruins there is the undeniable triumph and power of poetic utterance'

    Rachel Hadas, Times Literary Supplement

    'From its opening page until its final lines, Graham''s 15th collection of poetry has the heightened urgency of a young writer's debut. True to its title, it hurtles forward. Poems pour forth, frothing and pooling and threatening, at times, to overflow their banks...Runaway feels as though it has been written for right now, especially as we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic, but also for a target audience that might emerge 100 years on...'

    Jeff Gordinier, New York Times

    'Sweeping lines and fractured phrases, ampersands and italics, lines unexpectedly justified right: all of these wake us up to 'the freshness of what's / there.'

    Fiona Sampson, The Guardian

      'Her most thrilling poems hurtle through long, unpredictable lines that devour and spit out ancient echoes and internet detritus as they go. . . . She in her poems remakes a world you can inhabit, one in which you sense what it is you're letting go of, now, before it's gone.'

    Harper's Magazine
    'Runaway, Jorie Graham's expansive new book, insistently tunes us to the human urgency for wholeness, for the meanings of embodiment in a time when some of us/are murdered, and some of have mouths that keep saying yes.'

    Forrest Gander, New York Times

    'Even when these poems are at their darkest and most purposefully incoherent in terms of voice and tone, there remains a trace of language's ability to seek out, transmit and make visible the impact of the world on the self for others to experience.'
    Oxonian Review

    'The reason that poets are addicted to poetry and they write it for a lifetime, is because a poem will permit you to go through life and have an experience you can't have by any other means.'
    Jorie Graham talking to Ian McMillan on Radio 3's The Verb, 15 December 2017

     'Another striking book from Jorie Graham, and one that frequently reaches fever-pitch in its frantic explosion of the lyric mode. Graham's themes in these poems -ranging through sickness, death and environmental crises -would rattle any reader, and her long lines, clamouring fragments and sprawling chorus of voices increase this effect to a dramatic extent. These are urgent, stressed and stressful poems that produce a panicked motion-sickness as you spiral through them. This is an important, desperate and, at times, frightening, book that truly captures the tone of contemporary times.'
    The Poetry School Books of the Year 2017

     'In FAST, [Graham's] subject is mortality - her own (she was diagnosed with cancer five years ago), her parents', that of intellect and culture (in dementia, in digital overwhelm), that of the planet. It is a collection of sensual poems so urgent that, by the end, they have abandoned traditional beginnings and are physically bunched up on the right-hand side of the page. And through it all, an unwavering, serious belief in the power of poetry, a repeatedly inhabited rejection of Auden's assertion that poetry makes nothing happen.'
    The Guardian

     'Fast might immerse us in monstrous acts of environmental and political violence, our obsession with progress, money, and our own individualistic, virtual worlds, but what still succeeds is the wish to live on. Perhaps if we were to listen to that wish we might, amongst all the acceleration, stop and think again.'
    - The London Magazine

    'We should be grateful to Jorie Graham for her own heroics of perception, even if they show up our ordinary insight. If we can't see, with Graham, "the spots where the birds must eventually land", at least we know now where we should be looking.'
    Gwyneth Lewis, Times Literary Supplement.
    'Graham's best book in at least a decade.'
    Publishers Weekly
     'The poems in Jorie Graham's Sea Change might look unapproachable but they are models of clarity and purity.'
    Nicola Smyth, 'Books of the Year', the Independent, 28 December 2008
     'There are erotic poems, elegiac poems, and there are dauntingly difficult, allusive and even impenetrable poems. Throughout there is a powerful, engaging intelligence and an affirming lyric grace.'
    Stephen Matterson on The Errancy, in Poetry Ireland Review, vol. 62
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