“Cooley describes a difficult journey, yet one negotiated with bravery and a willingness to transcribe challenge into beauty… [She] writes from a place of strength despite doubt, describing deep joy alongside fear and anger in clear, vivid language.”
Available in print.
Nicole Cooley grew up in New Orleans. Her third book of poems, Breach, about Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Coast, was published by LSU Press in April 2010. Her first book, Resurrection, won the 1995 Walt Whitman Award and was published by LSU Press in 1996. Her second book, The Afflicted Girls (2004), was chosen as one of the best poetry books of the year by Library Journal. She also published a novel, Judy Garland, Ginger Love. She directs the new MFA program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College--City University of New York and lives outside of New York City with her husband and two young daughters.
". . . [Cooley's] restrained style, which explores identity, subjectivity, ambiguity, and ambivalence feels highly resonant and necessary."
“…a carefully constructed book…of elegant restraint.”
“…luminous…easily recognized by any woman who has clasped her children…”
—Santa Barbara Independent, Poetry Pick for the Holidays
“[Milk Dress] strives carefully and deliberately to bring together the whole of its narrative, while pausing for just the right click of the shutter, just the right brush stroke at each image…”
“[Cooley] fuses intense feeling and scrupulous form like the best poets—think of Dickinson and Yeats—and knocks the reader out in poem after poem, evoking tears and wonder in equal amounts.”
“Lush, pensive work…”
―The Library Journal
“With gorgeous, formal control Nicole Cooley names the powerful ways in which a writer/mother is bound to history, beauty and inevitable loss. Here is a sensibility willing to inhabit terror and to make of that consciousness poems that are perfect marvels of poise and urgency, and that insist on rescuing words, hope, and meaning from oblivion.”
“These are poems of birth and motherhood. They begin with a new life and end in a new self. They probe deep into the places where love extinguishes identity and yet renews awareness. What is so compelling here is that the arc of this journey is described with such music, craft and rigor in this wonderful collection.”
“If it’s possible for a book to account for why and how mothering changes everything: so many things change everything: in this book, in the background and sometimes in the foreground, New York City after The World Trade Center Towers were destroyed, New Orleans after Katrina’s devastations, a woman’s body after a baby takes it over, a woman’s body when it’s an extension of a baby, a poet’s body understanding our elemental destiny, Milk Dress is a meticulous chronicle of devotion and terror, love and responsibility. To watch a poet with a poet’s skill with words and music address what is, after all, that which without which we would have nothing, is exhilarating and what we have poetry for.”
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