Henri Cole’s most recent collection of poems, Nothing to Declare, was published earlier this year. (November 2015)

Dog and Master

Consider the ermine— territorial, noxious, thieving— its dense fur whitening when light is reduced. Mesmerizing its victims with a snake dance, killing with a bite to the back of the neck. Born blind, deaf, and toothless, the male …

When Poetry Gets Under the Skin

Henri Cole

In this podcast, Henri Cole reads from his recent book of poems, Touch (2011), and talks about his search for what he calls the “essentialness of emotion.”
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Sasha Weiss: You liken the self to a needle pushing in a vein. Henri Cole: We live in a time where, in the last decade or two, there was a drift away from the essentialness of emotion, because of the fashions of poetry … and so I wanted my book to sort of focus on the essentialness of piercing the skin—poems should have fear, wonder, grief, desperation, triumph, some element of these emotions in them.

Two Poems by Henri Cole

MECHANICAL SOFT Walking yesterday in the cold bright air, I encountered fifteen horses marching in a phalanx down the avenue. Long before they were visible, I heard their shoes striking the pavement, as language is sometimes audible before sense arrives. I loved how the wind …

One Animal

Do not show how jealous you are. Do not show how much you care. Do not think the bunch of flowers in his hand connects the hand to you. Do not close your eyes and kiss the funny lips. Do not twist your torso, touching yourself …

Sleeping Soldiers

Grow old. Buy a house. Have a baby. Love someone. Sometimes there are substitutions. An historical torque pulls us away. A dearest beloved—in a harbor, trench, or house— lies begging for morphine (just fucking do it, the best place is in the neck!). Runaway? Fight the …