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November 4, 2003

Poet Henri Cole to Read at Smith College

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Smith College will host a reading by poet Henri Cole at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18, in Stoddard Hall Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Cole's most recent collection, "Middle Earth," is both erotic and visionary. 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." Fewer poets still so thrillingly portray the physical world, or man's creaturely self, or the cycling strain of desire and self-reproach. Tina Barr of the Boston Review described the poems in "Middle Earth" as "marvels -- unbuttoned, riveting, dramatic -- burned into being."

Singularly concentrated, simultaneously gorgeous and severe, Cole's work has been widely praised. Critic Phoebe Pettingell writes of "The Visible Man," "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 ... Cole speaks plainly, which is refreshing. More important, he strikes us as candid, trying to come as close to complicated truths as possible." Hailed by the critic Harold Bloom as "a central poet of his generation," Cole has received many awards, including the prestigious Rome Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Born in Japan to American parents, Cole received a bachelor of arts degree from the College of William and Mary, a master of arts degree from the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee), and a master of fine arts degree from Columbia University. From 1982 to 1988, he served as the executive director of the Academy of American Poets. Cole has taught at many colleges and universities, including Columbia, Reed, Yale, Harvard and Brandeis. He is currently the Grace Hazard Conkling Poet in Residence at Smith College.

Cole's 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) 585-3368.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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