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Sea Change

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”Make of your compassion a crisper instrument,” advises Jorie Graham in ”Undated Lullaby,” ”you will need its blade.” As in 2005’s Overlord, Graham confronts modern wickedness — torture and global warming are two themes — in lush, sometimes hymnlike verse. Bleak meditations in which the day itself is ”a noose looking for a neck” are tempered (in less dexterous hands they would simply be interrupted) by imagery like this: ”the girl…carrying the large bouquet of blue hydrangeas, shaking the water off.” The title, Sea Change, recalls the book’s one weakness: Whole poems flow together so much that they can become indistinct. A-