Pierce the Skin: Selected Poems, 1982-2007 [NOOK Book]

Overview


A GENEROUS SELECTION FROM ONE OF OUR GREATEST LIVING POETS

Henri Cole has been described as a “fiercely somber, yet exuberant poet” by Harold Bloom, who identifies him as the central poet of his generation. Cole’s most recent poems have a daring sensitivity and imagistic beauty unlike anything on the American scene today. Whether they are exploring pleasure or pain, humor or sorrow, triumph or fear, they reach for an almost shocking ...
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Pierce the Skin: Selected Poems, 1982-2007

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Overview


A GENEROUS SELECTION FROM ONE OF OUR GREATEST LIVING POETS

Henri Cole has been described as a “fiercely somber, yet exuberant poet” by Harold Bloom, who identifies him as the central poet of his generation. Cole’s most recent poems have a daring sensitivity and imagistic beauty unlike anything on the American scene today. Whether they are exploring pleasure or pain, humor or sorrow, triumph or fear, they reach for an almost shocking intensity. Cole’s fourth book, Middle Earth, awakened his audience to him as a poet now writing the poems of his career.

Pierce the Skin
brings together sixty-six poems from the past twenty-five years, including work from Cole’s early, closely observed, virtuosic books, long out of print, as well as his important more recent books, The Visible Man (1998), Middle Earth (2003), and Blackbird and Wolf (2007). The result is a collection reconsecrating Cole’s central themes: the desire for connection, the contingencies of selfhood and human love, the dissolution of the body, the sublime renewal found in nature, and the distance of language from experience. “I don’t want words to sever me from reality,” Cole says, striving in Pierce the Skin to break the barrier even between word and skin. Maureen N. McLane wrote in The New York Times Book Review that Cole is a poet of “self-overcoming, lusting, loathing and beautiful force.” This book will have a permanent place with other essential poems of our moment.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cole has been called a “major poet” by no less an authority than Harold Bloom, and his work has been consistently lauded throughout his closely watched career. This slim (perhaps too slim) selection from Cole’s six previous books offers the first bird’s-eye view of Cole’s body of work, and it will most likely leave readers wanting more. Cole is nothing if not constantly intense on the page—his verse is always melancholy, but also carries a kind of religious weight, as if sadness itself were a ticket out of Hell. Cole is unafraid to embarrass himself (“After the death of my father,” begins one poem, “I locked// myself in my room, bored and animallike”) if it will lead him to his particular brand of skinned clarity, as when, at the end of the same poem, he seeks his father in “a little room in which glowing cigarettes// came and went, like souls losing magnitude,// but none with the battered hand I knew.” In Cole’s poems, the stakes are always impossibly high, and every insight is deeply costly. But perhaps that’s the price for being able to say, “I can feel my heart beating inside my heart.” (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466877771
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 8/12/2014
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 160
  • File size: 216 KB

Meet the Author


HENRI COLE was born in Fukuoka, Japan, and was raised in Virginia. The recipient of many awards, he is the author, most recently, of Blackbird and Wolf (FSG, 2007) and Middle Earth (FSG, 2003), which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
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