A bold new collection of poems of feral beauty and intense vulnerability
Henri Cole's bold new collection, Nothing to Declare, contains poems of feral beauty and intense vulnerability. Each poem starts up from its own unique occasion and is then conducted through surprising (sometimes unnerving) and self-steadying domains. The result is a daring, delicate, unguarded, and tender collection. After his last three books--Touch, Blackbird and Wolf, and Middle Earth--in which the sonnet was a thrown shape and not merely a template, Cole's buoyant new poems seem trim and terse, with a forthright, clear-eyed moral gaze. In their sorrowful richness, they combine a susceptibility to sensuousness and an awareness of desolation. Cole transforms the pain of experience into the keen pleasure of expressive language, with his precise reliability of detail, a supple wealth of sound, and a speculative truthfulness. Nothing to Declare is a rare work that is light in touch but with just enough weight to mark the soul.
The Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year
Praise for Nothing to Declare
“It has been apparent for some time that Cole is the most important American poet under sixty. His late work has made the bland, generic poems of so many in his generation an embarrassment. His unsparing portraits are as scarifying as any poems we have.” —William Logan, The New Criterion
“[A] sumptuous new collection of poems . . . Cole is known for his hair-raising erotic intimacy . . . but these poems are emphatically universal.” —The New Yorker on Touch