Taking its title from Heraclitus’s most famous fragment, The River Twice is an elegiac meditation on impermanence and change. The world presented in these poems is a fluid one in which so much—including space and time, the subterranean realm of dreams, and language itself—seems protean, as the speaker’s previously familiar understanding of the self and the larger systems around it gives way. Kathleen Graber’s poems wander widely, from the epistolary to the essayistic, shuffling the remarkable and unremarkable flotsam of contemporary life. One thought, one memory, one bit of news flows into the next. Yet, in a century devoted to exponentially increasing speed, The River Twice unfolds at the slow pace of a river bend. While the warm light of ideas and things flashes upon the surface, that which endures remains elusive—something glimpsed only for an instant before it is gone.
Awards and Recognition
- Winner of the UNT Rilke Prize, University of North Texas
Kathleen Graber is the author of two previous collections of poetry, The Eternal City (Princeton), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Correspondence. She is associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and lives in Powhatan, Virginia.
"Even more powerful than the profound intelligence of Kathleen Graber's poetry is its wisdom, and its compassion for the many private and collective forms we singly and together take—forms like self, other, community, and nation. The River Twice is lyric philosophy, and a supreme consolation."—Tracy K. Smith, Poet Laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Life on Mars
"If your faith in poetry, or in the human species, has ever faltered, read these poems. If you have ever doubted that generosity of spirit and brilliance of intellect are inseparable virtues, read these poems. Kathleen Graber is one of the two or three finest poets working in America today; no one can surpass her for musicianship or moral penetration."—Linda Gregerson, author of Prodigal: New and Selected Poems, 1976–2014
Praise for Kathleen Graber's The Eternal City"Nothing short of a revelation. . . . If you only read one book of poetry this year, that's not enough, but start with this one."—Craig Morgan Teicher, Publishers Weekly"[An] outstanding collection. . . . These poems are like cherishable letters from a friend abroad. . . . Graber reminds one that poetry can be the most liberating form."—Kate Kellaway, The Observer"Serious poetry as inviting as an intimate conversation. See for yourself."—Meghan O’Rourke, NPR"[Graber's] careful balancing and sensitive descriptions often feel as refreshing as a cold drink on a hot summer day."—Elizabeth Lund, Washington Post