Jorie Graham’s first appearance on the show in 2021, to discuss her collection Runaway, is one of the most relistened to episodes in the show’s history, a conversation that, with each revisitation, seems to reveal something new about how to will oneself into presence as an artist and as a human. And it is a conversation that many other guests on the show since have told me is now part of their syllabi at the universities where they teach. And yet as rich and deep as it was, even after those many substantive hours spent together, there was still so much left to explore about Jorie Graham’s poetics, which makes her return to Between the Covers, to discuss her latest collection, To 2040, particularly exciting. Both of these conversations are stand-alone episodes, and yet, I think to fully grasp Jorie’s poetics, both conversations are necessary to do so, as they approach her body of work from opposite vantage points. Whereas the first explores how to be present to and embodied before one’s life and one’s art, the second looks at how to make art, and to live an embodied life within a deeply and increasingly disembodied world. Today’s conversation is about the body—the body in relation to self and other; the body politic in relation to truth, fact, and shared reality; and the body that is the planet we call home. The body in relation to the virtual, the body in relation to language, and how to find a language in a world where we’ve lost our way.
The last time Jorie was on the show she contributed a remarkable bonus reading of several poems about rain (by Robert Creeley and Edward Thomas). The bonus audio archive, which includes bonus readings from everyone from Alice Oswald to Arthur Sze to Layli Long Solider to Dionne Brand, is one of many potential benefits of joining the Between the Covers community as a listener-supporter. To find out more head over to the show’s Patreon page. Lastly, here is today’s Bookshop with many of the books mentioned today.
photo credit: Alvaro Almanza