By Catherine Karaguezian
First released in 2006. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation
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Additional info for No image there and the gaze remains : the visual in the work of Jorie Graham
Graham's only hint that a spirit such as Bergson's elan vital may animate the material world is what she reveals to be the concatenation of the visible world: what is visible seems to comprise an interdependent scheme and seems to subsist independent of her human interest. As she explains it, "The way things work / is by solution / resistance lessened or / increased," and however much we might pursue the visible, "the objects of desire" are "opening upon themselves / without us" (3). While Graham maintains her belief in the unseen animation of these objects of desire in terms of spirituality-they are "objects of faith"-she also maintains the equal necessity of believing in what is empirically present.
Another notion of human virtue than self-control, another kind of human self than one based on dissociation of inside and outside. Or indeed, another human essence than self" (qtd. in Rasula 33). Brenda Hillman's exploration and interrogation of the concept of a stable subjectivity is, on the other hand, much more consciously feminist. Laura MuHen, reviewing Hillman's Loose Sugar, is mindful of the book's cognizance of "the fragility of reality and identity" and asserts Hillman's connection to Kristeva: MuHen argues, Writing into "the loved interval" of "the mother's body" (99) "the unfillable interval" made where "[a] mother's sentence [was] wrenched from her body" (105), the author of Loose Sugar goes into a tropic mer(e) to recover the "sea babble" blurring the line between self and other"keeping me mixed with them" (lOl)-the fluid language Kristeva identified as the semiotic, and Hillman feels the freedom of: ''A power came up; it was in between the voices.
The image that concludes the poem of the martial strife between "the real, the sheet of paper, rand] the bouquet" is less than positive and coheres with the larger tension throughout the volume as the poet admits her failure to master the visible if only within the parameters of neatly crafted poems.