2004 National Book Award Finalist
One of 12 books honored as the “Best Poetry of 2004” by Library Journal
“One of the most assured voices in contemporary poetry.”
Available in print.
Cole Swensen is the author of ten previous books of poetry including Goest which was a National Book Award Finalist. She has also won the San Francisco State Poetry Center Book Award, two Pushcart Prizes and a National Poetry Series selection, as well as grants for translating and writing, and a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. She is on the permanent faculty of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and divides her time between Iowa, Washington DC, and Paris.
“[Goest] explodes the assumption of the ’empty’ portion of the page, while equally exploring the nature of the ‘filled’ portion of it. What emerges is an absence that is really present around a poem, almost haunting it as its lines jut out into space, inventing a language as it goes…”
“Swensen uses the slipperiest of language to illuminate, if you will, what we see and how often we don’t see it.”
—Sacramento News & Review
“Ignore the archaic-sounding title, because Swensen has penned a modern, jazzy collection….[These poems] shape-shift constantly, sometimes building on fragments but always moving fast because of the typography. A sense of history and discovery propel them forward. Highly recommended for all collections.”
“Delicately speculative, as if forced to take in the myriad conditions surrounding and evinced by things, Cole Swensen in this new book undertakes meticulous descriptions. But the poems, while subtle, are also blazing. Swensen is unafraid of what’s happening. There is enormous grace in these poems, there is also serious daring. The pleasure of reading them is intense.”
“Goest, sonorous with a hovering “ghost” which shimmers at the root of all things, is a stunning meditation—even initiation—on the act of seeing, proprioception, and the alchemical properties of light as it exists naturally and inside the human realm of history, lore, invention and the “whites” of painting. Light becomes the true mistress and possibly the underlying language of all invention. Swensen’s poetry documents a penetrating “intellectus”—light of the mind—by turns fragile, incandescent, transcendent.”
More by Cole Swensen: