On this episode of The Lit Show, Cole Swensen talks about her newest book of poetry. Gravesend (University of California Press) is a meditation on ghosts as they have appeared throughout history and across societies as emblems of grief, objects of terror, and as a means to contemplate what might lie beyond the grave. The book lends particular emphasis to the English town of Gravesend at the mouth of the Thames, which was its own kind of threshold between one life and the next when emigrants used its port to begin their journeys to the New World.
Cole Swensen is the author of fourteen books of poetry including Goest, a finalist for the National Book Award and Try, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize and the San Francisco Poetry Center Book Award. She is also the author of the acclaimed Ours: poems on the gardens of Andre Le Notre and many books of translation. Before joining the faculty of Brown University’s Literary Arts Program she was on the permanent faculty at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Publisher’s Weekly has said of her work, “Swensen’s thematic book-length sequences… combine meticulousness with a postmodern flair for dislocation, cementing Swensen’s reputation as an important experimental writer.”