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About this poet

Norma Cole was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1945. She received a BA in 1966 and an MA in French language and literature in 1968, both from the University of Toronto.

Cole is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Fate News (Omnidawn, 2018), Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988–2008 (City Lights, 2009), Spinoza in Her Youth (Omnidawn, 2002), and Metamorphopsia (Potes & Poets Press, 1988). Of her work, Robert Creeley writes, “She is a poet of consummate intelligence, a deft and compassionate company.”

Cole is also the author of TO BE AT MUSIC: Essays & Talks (Omnidawn, 2010), and her translations from the French include Jean Daive’s White Decimal (Omnidawn, 2016). In 2006 she was the lead artist for Collective Memory, a project commissioned by the California Historical Society.

Cole has received awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Fund for Poetry, and the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, among others. She has taught at San Francisco State University, the University of San Francisco, and Otis College. Cole lives in San Francisco, California.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
Fate News (Omnidawn, 2018)
Actualities (Litmus Press, 2015)
Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988–2008 (City Lights, 2009)
Spinoza in Her Youth (Omnidawn, 2002)
Contrafact (Potes & Poets Press, 1996)
Mars (Listening Chamber, 1994)
Metamorphopsia (Potes & Poets Press, 1988)

Prose
TO BE AT MUSIC: Essays & Talks (Omnidawn, 2010)

The Painter’s Measure

For Nicole Phungrasamee Fein

Hope is encountered, variously
remembered, granted the patterns
of heaven—countless tiny
stars, oxalis hearts,
forget-me-nots, test sheets

Distant mountain ridgelines
flatten to paper in daylight
with every purposeful motion
night vision of timeless time
approaching the pulse of suspension

Metabolic edge of experiment,
the radiant points, scales and
variations of beads and dots
breathe benevolent notes, their
particular legibility of trackless

Resistance, deep-rooted, time
becomes sight incarnate, embodied
control framing chaos, space beyond
clarity, branches of lavender, thistle
grinding binding wetting the colors

A meteor shower—constellation
as memory of perfection

From Fate News (Omnidawn, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Norma Cole. Used with the permission of Omnidawn Publishing.

From Fate News (Omnidawn, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Norma Cole. Used with the permission of Omnidawn Publishing.

Norma Cole

Norma Cole is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Fate News (Omnidawn, 2018). She lives in San Francisco, California.

by this poet

poem
…a lead pencil held between thumb and forefinger
     of each hand forms a bridge upon which
     two struggling figures, "blood all around"…

I was born in a city between colored wrappers

I was born in a city the color of steam, between two pillars, between pillars and curtains, it was up

poem

                 Any further controversy would figure, figure hummingbirds in
Manhattan then Charlie Parker
                                synapsoids
beyond function when eyeless eyes are smiling watching you in my sleep
Should we

poem

Tiger runs wild

waning crescent

28% or 29% visible

not many images

illuminated crescent edge

casts long shadows