Henri Cole. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24 (80p) ISBN 978-0-374-11438-1
The radiant 10th collection from Cole (Touch) draws from the natural world, placing human life alongside the sublime. The poems appreciate small pleasures, as in “Lingonberry Jam,” in which the condiment evokes a feeling that “pierces right/ through into some deep, essential place,/ where I am my own master.” Elsewhere, Cole describes deer grazing beside an airport tarmac, drawing a contrast between living creatures and machines: “their limbs flexible, their rib cages pumping air./ The buck’s head is adorned with a forest/ that renews itself each year.” Cole’s political commentary is restrained and skillfully orchestrated; in “Super Bloom,” he evokes Allen Ginsberg’s “America” in lines like “America, like a monstrous sow/ vomiting cars and appliances into a green ooze/ of dollar bills/ where is my America?” Part III of the collection is introduced with a quote from the dissenting opinion in the 1986 Supreme Court case of Bowers v. Hardwick, which upheld Georgia’s sodomy laws. Many of the poems in this section are set in the 1980s, during which the poet was coming of age as a young gay man amid the AIDS epidemic. Readers of this collection will find that Cole’s joie de vivre is a balm for the soul. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/17/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Poetry
Paperback - 80 pages - 978-0-374-60321-2
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