Breach

Breach

by Nicole Cooley
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In Breach, New Orleans native Nicole Cooley recalls Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in gritty, poignant detail, bearing witness to the destruction of a region and to its recovery. Ranging from the urgent to the reflective, these poems speak not only to the horrors of the immediate disaster, but also to family dynamics in a time of crisis and to the social,

…  See more details below

Overview

In Breach, New Orleans native Nicole Cooley recalls Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in gritty, poignant detail, bearing witness to the destruction of a region and to its recovery. Ranging from the urgent to the reflective, these poems speak not only to the horrors of the immediate disaster, but also to family dynamics in a time of crisis and to the social, political, and cultural realities that contextualized the storm and its wake. In the title poem, Cooley invokes the multiple meanings of the word "breach" — breach of the levees, breach of trust — which resonate with survivors in the Crescent City, and in "Evacuation," she recounts her efforts to encourage her parents to leave the city and her harrowing three-day wait to hear from them after they refused. A number of poems, including "Write a Love Letter to Camellia Grill," "The Superdome: A Suite," and "Biloxi Bay Bridge Still Out," offer a broad range of voices and experiences to expand the perspective beyond Cooley's own family. With language and images both powerful and precise, this compelling collection dares us to "watch the surface of the city tear like loose skin."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cooley's mother and father, who lived in New Orleans, proved unable or unwilling to evacuate when Hurricane Katrina hit. They and their house survived, but the trauma—to Cooley's family and to her region—inspired the poet to tour the devastation in 2006. Her third book is the memorable result: “I came home to see/ the city grieving,” she declares on the first page; “The city drained then hacked apart.” Highly wrought poems (pantouns, and even a sestina) end up outnumbered and overshadowed by pages that simply accumulate startling data: “a torn Blue Roof unspooled yellow caution tape/ sheetrock black rot.” Trying to “write the poem that reveals the city,/ that reveals// what's inside, a house to house search,” Cooley (Resurrection) does not always make compelling phrases, but the pictures she draws are hard to forget. The last segment and the least personal, reacting to what Cooley saw in Mississippi and Alabama, may be the strongest: she not only describes, concisely, her travels, but also gives perverse and angry voice at last to the human impulse toward destruction, toward self-frustration and self-defeat: “Listen, the bird-foot delta is an artifact/ of engineering, so let's break it, let's wash it inland.” (Apr.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807135846
Publisher:
Louisiana State University Press
Publication date:
04/01/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
92
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

What People are saying about this

Douglas Brinkley
"What powerful and haunting poems these are. Nicole Cooley has brought great art to a Gulf South of debris." — Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge

Meet the Author

Raised in New Orleans, Nicole Cooley is also the author of the poetry collections Resurrection, winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets,The Afflicted Girls, and Milk Dress. She directs the MFA program in creative writing and literary translation at Queens College—The City University of New York.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >