Graham, Jorie, 1950–, b. New York as Jorie Pepper; daughter of Beverly Pepper. Widely regarded as one of the most important American poets of the late 20th cent., she is noted for a personal but intellectual, exploratory approach to wide-ranging subject matter. Her complex free verse is characterized accumulating imagery and insight of sometimes unclear associational logic, often with enjambments or ellipses that place participatory demands on her readers. In the early 21st cent. there was a shift in her work from more personal and philosophical interests toward more political, social, and environmental concerns. Her first collection was published in 1980, but it was her third, The End of Beauty (1987), that marked her turn toward the experimental approach and style for which she is noted. Other books by the prolific Graham include Region of Unlikeness (1991), The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974–1994 (1995, Pulitzer Prize), Overlord (2005), Sea Change (2008), and P L A C E (2012). Graham has been a member (1983–99) of the Iowa Writers' Workshop faculty and a professor (1999–) at Harvard.
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