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Middle Earth: Poems

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  156 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Time was plunging forward,
like dolphins scissoring open water or like me,
following Jenny's flippers down to see the coral reef,
where the color of sand, sea and sky merged,
and it was as if that was all God wanted:
not a wife, a house or a position,
but a self, like a needle, pushing in a vein.
-from "Olympia"

In his fifth collection of verse, Henri Cole's melodious lines are wr
Paperback, 80 pages
Published April 14th 2004 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2003)
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Best LGBT Poetry
15th out of 110 books — 22 voters
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82nd out of 130 books — 68 voters

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Community Reviews

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Robert Beveridge
Jan 22, 2008 Robert Beveridge rated it it was ok
Shelves: finished, cle-pub-lib
Henri Cole, Middle Earth (FSG, 2003)

First off, let's get this out of the way: this book has no ties whatever to Tolkein.

That said, it was the first proof I've ever had of an urban legend I've been hunting down for years. Skim through the Poet's Market sometims and look at the descriptions of the things magazine editors don't want. Most of them come down to one basic description said in a thousand ways: "pointless academic tripe." A few have, in the past, named names, but the names most often nam
Mary Rakow
Mar 06, 2013 Mary Rakow rated it it was amazing
I have come back to this beautiful volume once again, and it is always startling and fresh. Such a great way to remember the qualities in good poems that I want to remember as I write prose."Cleaning the Elephant" is one of my favorites.
Jan 17, 2015 Mia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Who were you / that even now all of me is in tatters, / aching to touch your face floating in a dream, / defining itself, like a large white / flower, by separation from me?"

"I cannot tell who absorbs the other more; / I am free but you are not, / if freedom means traveling long distances to avoid boredom."
Scott Pomfret
Henri Cole has collected here a set of poems that I am alternately dawn to describe as either very subtle or very timid. In the background lurks reference to flesh and sex that never quite materializes in the poetry. It’s the opposite of what I would call visceral. Not quite sure what to do with these or what he intended; despite the occasional flash of an enduring image, the collection as a whole always falls short of that (in the words of the immortal Donald Trump) pussy-grabbing moment. That ...more
Dec 31, 2007 Teresa rated it liked it
I have never read Henri Cole before I saw his poem in this week's New Yorker so I sought out a book. He has some amazing lines, lines I envy but I also find myself wanting a little bit more from him---granted I read the Gluck chapbook first so I may be tainted.
Apr 11, 2009 Heather marked it as to-read
A christmas/birthday/special occasion gift from the Varg. Beautiful, exotic, and so much more. Thanks Varg.
Sep 27, 2007 Robert rated it really liked it
Maughn Gregory
Dec 30, 2011 Maughn Gregory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, lgbt
Add Henri Cole to my list of poets to collect and follow.
Jul 27, 2007 Jenni rated it really liked it
Shelves: poets
Very good.
Feb 22, 2007 Adam added it
his best
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