Henri Cole, one of our greatest poets, explores the discordant nature of our condition on earth in Blizzard, his tenth collection.
“An artist of the greatest gifts.” —Louise Glück
Daring, tender, truthful, the poems in Blizzard, Henri Cole’s tenth book, build on a reputation for quiet mastery. Whether he is wrestling with the mundane, history and its disasters, or sexual love, he can sound both classical and contemporary, with the modern austerity of Cavafy and Bishop. Often exploring the darker places of the heart, his sonnets do not lie down obediently, but spark with an honest self-awareness.
Cole’s lucid, empathetic poems—with lyrical beauty and ethical depth—seem to transmute the anxious perplexities of our time.
About the Author
Henri Cole was born in Fukuoka, Japan, in 1956. He has published over half a dozen previous collections of poetry, including Touch, Nothing to Declare, and Blackbird and Wolf; and a memoir, Orphic Paris. Among his many awards are the Jackson Poetry Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. He lives in Boston, where he is a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
"In Blizzard . . . ordinary life shares a plane with the eerie, the uncanny, and the berserk. A menagerie of cats, snails, flies, bees, and other creatures fills these poems, acting simultaneously as heralds bearing news and scavengers feasting on our bodies . . . Blizzard, like many of Cole's recent books, is full of sonnets. He has made the form his own: often they begin loose-limbed and amiable, with an anecdote, then fall through a trapdoor of reminiscence and rue." —Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker
"Over the last 15 years . . . Cole has invented and mastered his own version of the sonnet, a compact lyric utterance that drills down on a single experience, moment, or startled vision, and surprises with every line . . . it's true poetry, the thing we mean by that word." —Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR
"Cole has written something minute and sensitive, and yet every bit as thrilling as a more ambitious collection. Blizzard is the perfect small tome for anyone who wants to get back in touch with one’s perceptions, and to do so while feeling closer to the mosses and herbs of the earth." —Kiran Bhat, Lambda Literary
"Cole is on the very short list of poets who long ago should have won the Pulitzer." —William Logan, The New Criterion
"[A] radiant 10th collection . . . Cole's political commentary is restrained and skillfully orchestrated . . . Readers of this collection will find that Cole's joie de vivre is a balm for the soul." —Publishers Weekly