Libellum Books

(Libellum, 2009)
ISBN 0-9752993-6-0


Norma Cole is a prolific poet, painter and translator.  Among her books are Collective Memory, Do the Monkey, and Spinoza in Her Youth.  In April 2009, City Lights publishes Cole’s Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988—2008.  Cole’s recent translations include Danielle Collobert’s Journals, Fouad Gabriel Naffah’s The Spirit God and the Properties of Nitrogen and Crosscut Universe: Writing on Writing from France.  Cole has been the recipient of awards from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, The Gertrude Stein Awards, The Fund for Poetry, and The Foundation for Contemporary Arts. 

This book of new poems by a modern master of the found and formulated is divided into three sequences: “Pluto’s Disgrace,” “In Our Own Backyard,” and “Collective Memory.”  Music controls the tone — “Here from the tap the heart beats” — as everyday life takes place under a political specter.  The universe is taken as greater frame, allowing a human place.  In the second section, prose intervenes, then back in the third to verbal play lightening the script.  As the poet puts it: lessness.  Personal, global, universal: all three shift and interlock in repeating cadences in these poems.  Their lock on reality provides consolation for these times.

Born in Toronto, Norma Cole attended University of Toronto for both undergrad (Modern Languages: French and Italian) and grad (MA in French).  She lived in a tiny village in the south of France during1968—71, drawing, sculpting, writing, and doing odd jobs, had a child, and moved back to Toronto for five years, where she went to night school and received a degree in Early Childhood Education.  She moved to San Francisco in 1977, got a job in the public school system, happened in to New College, and there met her core community of poets, including Robert Duncan, Michael Palmer, David Levi Strauss, Susan Thackrey, Aaron Shurin, Laura Moriarty, and many more.  Back in France, Paris this time, Cole met French poets, including Claude Royet-Journoud and Emmanuel Hocquard, as well as Joey Simas, who published her first book, Mace Hill Remap

Libellum is honored to publish Norma Cole’s book of new poems, Natural Light, and hopes that you will consider reviewing this book or having it reviewed in your publication.  If you would like more information, please contact Libellum at or by calling 212-463-7598.


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