“[Of Marriage] is by turns confident and questioning, as the speaker considers the promise of matrimony — lifelong contentment and security — and its realities.”
—The Washington Post
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 brings an impressive range of literary forms, voices, and conceptual lenses to bear on lingering questions about language and intimacy in her accomplished seventh collection.”
—Publishers Weekly starred review
“The routes and ruts and rewards of marriage live in Cooley’s new book. . . .Her long lines feel like stabs of perseverance. . .”
“Sublimely talented Nicole Cooley doesn’t define marriage so much as surround it with that most relational part of speech, the preposition ‘of.’ Her captivating, furious, tender collection Of Marriage is not a story—though there’s a twosome, with two daughters as well. Instead it’s a series of chilling, strange, and gorgeous metaphors with images about the marriage contract in body, soul, and law. Marriage as koi pond, construction paper, salad fork: what is this union, the poet-wife provokes us to ask, if not the unique hold of one person to another? (Cooley means chokehold as well as embrace.) In couplets and comparisons, with a grace as formal as a medieval marriage vow and as hard as a kitchen floor, here is Cooley’s art at work, taking up the challenge of the ultimate bond.”
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