She knows how to get your attention. As you move through the book...poems like 'I’m Reading Your Mind' and 'Rail' dare you not to get pulled into their riptides. From its opening page until its final lines, Graham’s 15th collection of poetry has the heightened urgency of a young writer’s debut. True to its title, it hurtles forward. Poems pour forth, frothing and pooling and threatening, at times, to overflow their banks ... Runaway taps into a free-floating end-of-the-worldness (is there a German word for that?) that so many of us feel even if we can’t express it ... Runaway feels as though it has been written for right now, especially as we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic, but also for a target audience that might emerge 100 years on. You imagine someone in the future flipping through it, finding a record of a great unraveling, and spending hours trying to decipher it ... the churn of Graham’s language settles into a benediction that couldn’t be clearer[.]
Graham doesn’t allow herself the reveling in ruin and despair that sometimes tempts those who write about apocalypse ... Graham has long been breaking open the lyric voice, seeing how much of the vast, fractured, overwhelming present it can contain ... Her most thrilling poems hurtle through long, unpredictable lines that devour and spit out ancient echoes and internet detritus as they go, returning to unpoetic words such as normal till you feel the hideous adjustments they are hiding ... she in her poems remakes a world you can inhabit, one in which you sense what it is we’re letting go of, now, before it’s gone.
Runaway was completed before the pandemic, but its capacious understanding makes it as able to speak to this as to climate breakdown and global suffering ... She’s not the first to do so ... But she’s doing it with urgency and an attention so exceptional it comes out as tenderness ... Sweeping lines and fractured phrases, ampersands and italics, lines unexpectedly justified right: all of these wake us up to 'the freshness of what’s / there.'