Henri Cole

(1956 / Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture)

Henri Cole
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Born in Fukuoka, Japan, and raised in Virginia, poet Henri Cole grew up in a household where French, Armenian, and English were spoken. He earned a BA at the College of William and Mary, an MA at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and an MFA at Columbia University.

In an essay on the influence of Hart Crane’s poetry on his own early development as a poet, Cole speculates on the possibility that “the pain of unsanctioned love […] was enabling to him as a poet, that an absence in life helped him to find a presence in art. Perhaps, I sometimes rationalize, the ecstasy of sexual love is not so different from the near religious fervor of creating, or rather assembling language ... more »

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Best Poem of Henri Cole

Hand Grenade Bag

This well-used little bag is just the right size

to carry a copy of the Psalms. Its plain-woven

flowers and helicopter share the sky with bombs

falling like turnips—he who makes light of other

men will be killed by a turnip. A bachelor,

I wear it across my shoulder—it's easier to be

a bachelor all my life than a widow for a day.

On the bag's face, two black shapes appear

to be crows—be guided by the crow and you

will come to a body—though they are

military aircraft. A man who needs fire

will soon enough hold it in his...

Read the full of Hand Grenade Bag

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