W(illiam) S(ydney) Graham Jeffrey Wainwright - Essay

Jeffrey Wainwright

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

W. S. Graham's Selected Poems includes work published in England over thirty-five years from Cage Without Grievance (1942) to the Collected Poems 1942–1977 that appeared in 1979. This selection, however, does not proceed chronologically but begins with a number of poems that concentrate intensely upon the problematics of language both in poetry and at large. The first, a sequence of three poems from Implements In Their Places (1977), with the challenging reiteration of its title "What Is The Language Using Us For?," issues an announcement of the concerns Graham has come to, and stands almost as an admonition, a necessary question that must be confronted before we can proceed. The poem is...

(The entire section is 1367 words.)