Kathleen Graber’s “The Eternal City: Poems” wins the Library of Virginia 2011 Literary Award for Poetry

“Kathleen Graber, assistant professor of English in the creative writing department at Virginia Commonwealth University, won the 2011 Literary Award for Poetry for The Eternal City. Graber’s book suggests the miraculous in ordinary human experience, exploring the interplay among the personal, historical, and philosophical.”

With an epigraph from Freud comparing the mind to a landscape in which all that ever was still persists, The Eternal City offers eloquent testimony to the struggle to make sense of the present through conversation with the past. Questioning what it means to possess and to be possessed by objects and technologies, Kathleen Graber’s collection brings together the elevated and the quotidian to make neighbors of Marcus Aurelius, Klaus Kinski, Walter Benjamin, and Johnny Depp. Like Aeneas, who escapes Troy carrying his father on his back, the speaker of these intellectually and emotionally ambitious poems juggles the weight of private and public history as she is transformed from settled resident to pilgrim.

 Some of Graber’s wonderful poems can be found online. The New Yorker published The Magic Kingdom in 2008 and  The Drunkenness of Noah in 2010.