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THE NEW YORKER
October 10, 2011
the messianic Walt Whitman ("I make holy whatever I touch"), Henri Cole has spent his career tallying ecstatic and
multifarious encounters with physical reality. Such encounters permeate this sumptuous new collection of poems, in which
Cole is to be found addressing a pig, a strand of seaweed, and even a mosquito.
A characteristic tone of awed ingenuousness...is one Cole has learned from Blake and Bishop, though he also keeps an ear to
the ground of contemporary speech, describing a torrential downpour as "rain on steroids"..."How can I/defend
myself against what I want?" Cole asks with voluptuous candor, and leaves it to us to infer the answer. He can't,
and neither can we.
eighth book of poems may be his most sensitive (in the manner of a compass needle), pointing as precisely as possible to the
various sources of a lifetime's fragility and power.