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on 18 September 2001
'Aimed At Nobody' is a posthumous selection of poems from Graham's notebooks.
I find these poems much more enjoyable than the Graham of 'The Nightfishing' -- somehow there seems to be more range here; although the oblique nature of the poetry's journey is still its most obvious feature. "At times I suggested to him that his work was progressing better," writes Nessie Graham in a short preface, "And he always replied, Not better, just different."
These poems show an ease that has only been attained with long practice of an art that is careful, responsive and humane. The poetic here is often one of remarkable simplicity: "It does not matter who you are / It does not matter who I am," runs a 'Proem' to the book, "This book has not been purposely / made for any reason. / It has made itself by circumstances. / It is aimed at nobody at all."
These poems remind me of a comment that Gorky made to Checkov, "When I think of your stories, mine seem written not with a pen, but with a log." To talk of imagination, of construcing an imaginative reality that doesn't imply any disdain for the everyday, unpoetic reality, may make Graham seem more lumbering, more programmatic than he is. Though somewhat reminiscent of Wallace Stevens in his concerns, Graham is more rooted in place and people: "then without / A word she took my arm and well / That was that, like old times, / Her leaning in on me, her heels / Clacking along in the small hours." These poems carry on their exploration with delicacy.