Middle Earth by Henri Cole
Poems

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Synopsis

The fullest culmination to date of an original voice and “a central poet of his generation” (Harold Bloom)

Time was plunging forward,
like dolphins scissoring open water or like me,
following Jenny’s flippers down to see the coral reef,
where the color of sand, sea and sky merged,
and it was as if that was all God wanted:
not a wife, a house or a position,
but a self, like a needle, pushing in a vein.
—from “Olympia”

In his fifth collection of verse, Henri Cole’s melodious lines are written in an open style that is both erotic and visionary. Few poets so thrillingly portray the physical world, or man’s creaturely self, or the cycling strain of desire and self-reproach. Few poets so movingly evoke the human quest of “a man alone,” trying “to say something true that has body, / because it is proof of his existence.” Middle Earth is a revelatory collection, the finest work yet from an author of poems that are “marvels—unbuttoned, riveting, dramatic—burned into being” (Tina Barr, Boston Review).
 

About Henri Cole

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Henri Cole was born in Fukuoka, Japan, and was raised in Virginia. The recipient of many awards, he is the author of four previous books of poems, most recently The Look of Things (1995) and The Visible Man (1998). He is poet-in-residence at Smith College.
 
Published April 1, 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 80 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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But too often here that feverish, ecstatic moment is deadened by a discursive comment on how to read a poem or why to write one, as in the prefatory remark where self-portrait as body—"almost naked in the heat/ trying to support a little universe/ of blackening pinks"—slides into a glib mission s...

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