Father's Day approaches, so please join us for a special poetry reading featuring poet Nicole Cooley and her father, poet Peter Cooley as we celebrate the publication of Nicole's new book.
In Breach, New Orleans native Nicole Cooley recalls Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in gritty, poignant detail, bearing witness to the destruction of a region and to its recovery. Ranging from the urgent to the reflective, these poems speak not only to the horrors of the immediate disaster, but also to family dynamics in a time of crisis and to the social, political, and cultural realities that contextualized the storm and its wake. In the title poem, Cooley invokes the multiple meanings of the word “breach”—breach of the levees, breach of trust—which resonate with survivors in the Crescent City, and in “Evacuation,” she recounts her efforts to encourage her parents to leave the city and her harrowing three-day wait to hear from them after they refused. A number of poems, including “Write a Love Letter to Camellia Grill,” “The Superdome: A Suite,” and “Biloxi Bay Bridge Still Out,” offer a broad range of voices and experiences to expand the perspective beyond Cooley’s own family. With language and images both powerful and precise, this compelling collection dares us to “watch the surface of the city tear like loose skin.”
Raised in New Orleans, Nicole Cooley is also the author of the poetry collections Resurrection, winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and The Afflicted Girls. She directs the MFA program in creative writing and literary translation at Queens College–The City University of New York.
Peter Cooley will read selection from his eight books of poetry including Divine Margins, a beautiful collection of elegies.
Peter Cooley was born and raised in Detroit. A graduate of Shimer College, The University of Chicago and The University of Iowa, where he was a student in the Writers Workshop and received his Ph.D., he is currently Professor of English at Tulane University Orleans teaching creative writing. In 2001, he won the Inspirational Professor Award, and in 2003 the Newcomb College Professor of the Year Award.
In another book of mystic explorations, Cooley mines the decline and passing of his parents lives for insights into a Spirit that dwells beyond us, beside us and in us, the poet guided by the grace light possible to sustain me. Drawing from received texts in Christian myth for iconic figures he can re-shape as his own, Cooley tries once again to find miracle, even ironic miracle, in the ordinary.
In Breach, New Orleans native Nicole Cooley recalls Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in gritty, poignant detail, bearing witness to the destruction of a region and to its recovery.