An Interview with Jorie Graham Issue 2 (August 2012) Earthlines Magazine


“SB: Your poetry has grown more ecological in subject matter over

time. What factors have contributed to that – has it followed the

pattern of your own personal transformations?


JG:  To answer this question: once I woke up,

once I read-up, once I lived outside of the US where the green

movements arise out of a very wide swathe of the population

– once I lived on agricultural land in France where any farmer

was also a committed, informed and active environmentalist

– because he saw the bees disappearing and he knew what it

meant – because he saw the seasons coming unravelled and he

knew why – because he saw birds lose their way in migration

and knew why – because he saw his growing season alter, his

water disappear, his family come down with environmentally

induced cancers – once I watched so many people who live

on the land – in Iowa, in Wyoming, in Normandy – tell me

‘It is sick, it is sick, we are killing it’ – I began to read deeply

in the field. And I grew very afraid. And what scared me

most was the narrowing window of opportunity – the tools

at hand, but kept just out of reach by corporate interests and

greed, and a population as much lulled into their sleep by

(heavily financed) denial as by the very technology that could

have awakened them and handed them tools. I saw the failure

of courage as a failure of imagination. And that is where art

comes in. Or so McKibben thinks, and I agree.”


We were told by the best scientists that Sandy was coming and
would visit more and more often as long as the CO2 continued to
build.  But we were NOT afraid.

It will take more than fear now
to seriously begin the recovery the burden of which will fall on
our children and grandchildren and perhaps many generations
to come. We desperately need to decrease our footprint and I am
afraid that it will be messy.