November 12, 2001
Poet Henri Cole to Read
at Smith College
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.-The Poetry Center
at Smith College presents poet Henri Cole at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday,
Nov. 27, in Neilson Library Browsing Room. The event is free,
open to the public and wheelchair accessible.
Hailed by critic Harold Bloom as "a central poet of his
generation," Cole declares that his primary goal is "to
write what is human." At times severe, always attentive
and extremely lyrical, his poetry takes on that task, seeking
the core of diverse human experiences.
Cole's four books of poetry have been praised extensively. The
New Yorker review of his third book, "The Look of Things,"
describes his range: "[H]e can understate, can step back
with courtly distance from the scene he is describing; in stanzas
as shapely as topiary he can salute a visual world he honestly
loves; he can write about the soul stumbling against quotidian
impediments." In her article "Poetry Read in Canoes,"
critic Phoebe Pettingell characterizes Cole as a poet whose work
is at once accomplished and "happily accessible."
Of "The Visible Man," Cole's most recent book, she
writes, "This is no emotional striptease; it is a brave,
even graceful attempt to find what is most vulnerable underneath
all the armor and stage props we use to buttress our egos. ...
Henri Cole speaks plainly, which is refreshing. More important,
he strikes us as candid, trying to come as close to complicated
truths as possible."
Cole was born in Japan to American parents. He received his
B.A. from the College of William and Mary in 1978, his M.A. from
the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) in 1980 and his M.F.A.
from Columbia University in 1982. From 1982 to 1988 he served
as the executive director of the Academy of American Poets.
Before coming to Smith, he taught at Columbia, Yale, Harvard
and Brandeis Universities and Reed College, among other places.
Cole is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the
Rome Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts
Cole is currently the Grace Hazard Conkling Poet in Residence
at Smith College.
His reading will be followed by a bookselling and signing. For
more information, call Cindy Furtek in the Poetry Center office
at (413) 585-4891 or Ellen Doré Watson, director, at (413)