Portland, Oregon— July 23, 2019 — Unsolicited Press announces the immediate availability of LENS by Grace Marie Grafton, a wild and cultivated poetry collection. The poems in LENS invite readers to explore the faces, places, history and mythic imagination of artists of California from 1853-2010.
These quixotic, skillful poems display a sensitive respect for the art that inspired them. The author selected sixty-six pieces of artwork that collectively display the astounding breadth of art that California has evoked and that therefore afford her sufficient content to showcase her mastery of a refreshing variety of writing styles. As her poem, “Muse,” from LENS, says, “she could spell the letters in summer shapes/ she could hold you down in a fight/ she unlocks the midnight door for you.” Her poems will help you see art, poetry and California through a new lens.
Grace Marie Grafton is the author of six books of poetry. Jester (2013) was published by Hip Pocket Press. Author Mary Mackey writes that this collection of poems “links us to a communal imagination which transcends the conventional limits of both poetry and fine arts.” Her poetry has won honors from “Bellingham Review”, San Francisco PEN Women's Soul Making contests, “Sycamore Review” and “Anderbo.” Her poems have recently appeared in “Fifth Wednesday”, “Cortland Review”, “Ambush Review”, “Askew'”, “The Offending Adam”, “Sin Fronteras”, and “basalt”, among others. For over three decades, Ms. Grafton taught children to write poetry through the CA Poets in the Schools program, winning twelve Artist in Residence grants from the CA Arts Council for her teaching. She was awarded Teacher of the Year by the River of Words Youth Poetry Contest, sponsored by Robert Hass, US Poet Laureate.
Critical Reviews of LENS by Grace Marie Grafton
“These landscape-swept poems cross California in time and place. They trace histories of discovery, wildness, change, habitation, struggle, destruction. Knowledge, sorrow, wonder. They hold up a lens, creating a conversation between visual artists, the poet, and place in arresting and flexible language. Each poem is a close look—clear, honest, graceful—and reading them, you will be reminded of what makes place so deeply meaningful to us all. The book is a paean to the nature and majesty of California, to the peoples and animals that have lived within her changing, rich landscape, and to the importance of knowledge, contemplation and art,” said Tobey Hiller, author of “Aqueduct”.
Rusty Morrison, author of Beyond the Chainlink said, “Jordan Kantor has written that the denotative function of language is kin, in representational painting, to the way that what is pictured in the painting is foregrounded. As I read Grace Marie Grafton’s luminous and illuminating poems, I see this concept come to life; I see how Grafton begins with her deft translations of what is represented in the art, i.e., the denotative, the powerful gravity of what appears before a viewer’s eye in the artwork. This, she must work both with and against, using her enormously muscular and yet exceedingly well-calibrated craft. In this way her work can soar high above this gravity, but never so far as to leave it out of our sight or mind or leave behind its hold upon the meaning of each poem. This is deft trapeze artistry, practiced without a net. As a reader, I never forget that each reach of image that she takes, each risk, might, in less-skilled hands, plummet earthward and land as a shamble of failure upon our eyes and ears. Yet Grafton’s images remain aloft in meticulously-timed arcs of direct language, which are without embellishment. All is muscle, compelling our eyes to follow her in fear and in delight, as we are given exacting language we then can translate into viscerally visual images in our minds. She risks in this way, her approach resists offering easy explanation or interpretation. She offers us the gift of gathering from the work our own insight, our own complex interpretations of what we see through her powerfully concentrated poems, her LENS.”
LENS by Grace Marie Grafton Availability
LENS by Grace Marie Grafton is brought to the trade by Ingram and is available wherever books are sold. Print and electronic versions are available.