The Sky Broke More by Garth Graeper / ISBN 9781959708025 / 112-page paperback published in 2023 by Winter Editions
Blending ecopoetics, ghost story, and sci-fi thriller, Garth Graeper’s first full-length collection imagines survival in a world where nature, time, and identity are unstable and predatory.
Inspired by sources as wide-ranging as Tarkovsky’s Stalker, the comic book character Swamp Thing, and Romantic visionary Dorothy Wordsworth, Graeper’s The Sky Broke More abounds with transmogrifications. Teetering between intimacy and apocalypse, no body, or tree, or sound stays intact for long. No sooner exorcized from a ghostly possession in the Lake District, the reader is driven back into the water cycle, raining down from the sky to feed plants, or reawakened from a dream, trying to grasp a hand, to remember a face. In this ecosystem, where “caught between tall lilacs / bodies spill,” green meadows offer less a bucolic backdrop than a site of aggressive reclamation. Propelled by terse language and thorn-sharp images, these poems blur lines between inside and out, challenge anthropocentric notions of self, and explore the volatile space between companionship and competition in an age of dwindling resources.
Graeper’s taut lyric braids human and terrestrial sound and sensation—heartbeat and howling, voice and storm, breath and birdsong—into something both beautiful and unsettled: “a density of voices so absolute, you may hear it as silence.”—Nancy Kuhl