What a wondrous thing to suddenly be aliveeating Natalie's lingonberry jam from Alaska,where she picked the fruit herself with one seeing eye.In this tumultuous world we're living in—with the one-hour news loop—my thoughtslinger, more and more, on the darkish sideas I sit at the table with Mr. & Mrs. Spork,who still ask me, Are you married yet?But Natalie's lingonberry jam pierces rightthrough into some deep, essential place,where I am my own master and no sodomylaws exist, and where, like a snowflake,or a bee lost amid the posies, I feelautonomous, blissed-out, and real.
Excerpted from BLIZZARD: Poems by Henri Cole.
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux September 1st 2020.
Copyright © 2020 by Henri Cole.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Henri Cole was born in Fukuoka, Japan. He has published ten collections of poetry, including Middle Earth, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer. He has received many awards for his work, including the Jackson Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award, the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, the Lenore Marshall Award, and the Medal in Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His has also published Orphic Paris (New York Review Books), a collage-memoir. A new collection of poetry, Blizzard, has just appeared from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He teaches at Claremont McKenna College.
"When a poet of extraordinary gifts makes a profound change, it is an event for the art itself. Blizzard is such an event."
"Over the last 15 years . . . Cole has invented and mastered his own version of the sonnet, a compact lyric utterance that drills down on a single experience, moment, or startled vision, and surprises with every line . . . it's true poetry, the thing we mean by that word."
—Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR