Monday, January 4, 2010

Henri Cole

Henri Cole is the author of six books of poems: Blackbird and Wolf, Middle Earth (a finalist for the Pulitzer), The Visible Man , The Look of Things, The Zoo Wheel of Knowledge, and The Marble Queen. He is the winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Award, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Berlin Prize, the Rome Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, among other prestigious awards. His new collection, Pierce the Skin: Selected Poems -- 1982-2007, is forthcoming in the Spring 2010.

From Cole's Q & A with Chris Lydon in Boston, 11.20.09:

Q: Who is your favorite all-time fictional character?

A: I remember reading a French novel called The Wanderer when I was a young man, by Alain Fournier. I don’t remember the character’s name, but let’s just call him the Wanderer.

Q: What’s the quality above all that you look for in a poem?

A: Two qualities: there has to be a commitment to emotional truth, and there has to be a little concerto of consonants and vowels.

Q: What is your idea of a perfect poem?

A: Almost every poem of Elizabeth Bishop’s. James Merrill has a poem called “The Broken Home” that I love. In the Merrill poems, the thing I like so much is the combination of a high register of speech with total colloquial moments – I like that the poem has a range that can go from very high to very demotic in a few short lines.

Q: Who do you write for?

A: I don’t think too much about it. I am more committed to...[read on]
Visit Henri Cole's website.

Writers Read: Henri Cole.

--Marshal Zeringue