Sacred Conversations


A collection of poetry by Peter Cooley.

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A collection of poetry by Peter Cooley.

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What People Are Saying

Prairie Schooner
“With his stunning eye for detail, with his ability of manipulate voice for dramatic expressiveness, with his skill in weaving in and out of a range of styles from the subtly impressionistic to the overly dramatic, Cooley is one of our most distinctive American poets.”
The Gettysburg Review
“Cooley finds occasion for celebration in the minute and circumstantial events of day-to-day living . . . [his] obsession with interpreting each aspect of the ‘miraculous ordinary’ forms the most distinctive feature of his verse.”
Indiana Review
“Cooley’s spiritual receptivity may surprise some readers accustomed to the secular drone of much contemporary poetry, but his faith is never dogmatic, never held above the reader to admonish. Instead, it merely conditions his daily interaction with the world as father, as husband, and especially as a poet, whose duty it is to ‘transcribe’ the ‘squints and hintings’ of his presence.”
Black Warrior Review
“The Astonished Hours is a cohesive book thematically, and the craft and grace of the poems demonstrates the power of free verse as a ‘form,’ and of voice itself as perhaps the most important late twentieth-century ‘form.’”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887482557
  • Publisher: Carnegie-Mellon University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1998
  • Series: Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series
  • Pages: 104
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

PETER COOLEY was born in Detroit and grew up there and in the suburbs of the city. A graduate of Shimer College, The University of Chicago and The University of Iowa, he lives in New Orleans, where he is Professor of English at Tulane University. Married and the father of three children, he has published five books of poetry: The Company of Strangers, which has been reissued by Coyne & Chenoweth, The Room Where Summer Ends, Nightseasons, The Van Gogh Notebook, and The Astonished Hours, all of which were published by Carnegie Mellon University Press.

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Table of Contents

To My Hypocrite Reader 13
To the Sun 15
For Tess of the d'Urbervilles 16
The Return 17
Dusk 20
Poem for the Moment of My Death 21
Hunger 22
For Lear 24
My Raven 26
Against Imagining 27
For Jay Gatsby 28
Monuments 33
For Daisy Miller 34
Rites of Passage 35
A Vision 36
Museum Piece 37
For Anna Karenina 38
Holy Hour 40
Postprandial: The Landings, A Retirement Center Offering an Independent Lifestyle 41
Morning After My Death 42
No Moral Lesson 43
In Place of Happiness 44
The National Cremation Society 46
I Have to Tell You This 47
Attempt at Elegy 51
No Land of Counterpane 53
Poem on the First Day of School 54
Transcendentals 55
The Video Arcade 56
To Emily Dickinson in New Orleans 58
Coincidental Music 59
For Jake Barnes 60
At the Special Olympics 62
For Hamlet 63
The Sea Birds 65
Messengers 69
In Possibility 70
Poem on My Birthday 71
For Arthur Dimsdale 72
Brother Body 73
For Jude the Obscure 75
Body of Night 77
Why I Despise Myself 78
To My Son on His Eleventh Birthday 79
Little Mad Song 80
For Ozma of Oz 81
Sources 83
For Emma Bovary in Heaven 87
November: Another Poem on My Birthday 89
The Crow 90
Driving, Christmas Eve 91
Psalm Before Sleep 92
Incantation 93
For Gregor Samsa 94
Vespers 95
To the Reader 96
Eventides 97
Poem on the First Day of Spring 98
Invitation to the Voyage 99
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