poem index


Norma Cole

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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

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)

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

by this poet


Saturation—the world is
its own music in awe and

space and not flat these
dynamics of rising

horizon remember the narrow
loom’s scale, perspectival

innuendo’s subtle registration
of touch, we listen, eye

in the hand, mind
in the eye of the hand


Tiger runs wild

waning crescent

28% or 29% visible

not many images

illuminated crescent edge

casts long shadows


There will be
there will be

for the paintings