What Someone Wanted

As part of Black Moss Press’ First Lines Series, this first full poetry collection, What Someone Wanted by Shirley Graham, is a book about the longing, loneliness, alienation and sometimes miraculous union that can occur in “the infinite land between one and two.”
Using a diversity of styles that range from spare, unadorned poetry to prose that calls to mind the quirky energy of Swiss writer Robert Walser, to philosophically wry poetic musings reminiscent of Borges and Calvino, Graham looks with subtle insight at version after version of what happens when someone wants something: the rabid passion behind war’s devastation, the lover grappling with a kiss, the confusion of a dissolving relationship, the mother trying to be mother enough for her child, the ever-recurring longings that so define what it means to be a human being.
Her poems are at once emotionally intense and zen-like in their sustained focus. Like the Blue Notes, a prose poem series included in this collection, Graham’s eye uncovers the small detail, the strange angle, the unexpected metaphor that accurately reflects the web of mystery, tension and beauty within our daily lives.

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