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Cole Swensen: Greensward
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Poetry | $14 ($12 direct from UDP)
Perfect-bound. 64 pp, 7.5 x 8.25 in.
ISBN 978-1-933254-65-4
Publication Date: October 27, 2010
Distribution: SPD
Series: Dossier

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Greensward looks at the interaction between animals, humans, and gardens. Often playful, it explores the question of whether animals other than humans have an aesthetic sense, posits that they do, and suggests that they develop it through watching humans garden. The short sections of poetry and prose, sometimes plainspoken, sometimes poised precariously on the line between sense and non-sense, are dovetailed into engravings of 18th century gardens by the artist John Roque. Graphic artist Shari DeGraw and poet Cole Swensen collaborated on excerpting elements from the garden maps and playing with scale and patterning to create a conversation between the visual and verbal elements. Two well-known 18th century garden designers also make cameo appearances, giving the text a historical sweep from the heyday of the English landscape garden to the present.

“Here is the real sentiment behind Swensen’s project: that it is not just the exterior world but the interior one that is inhuman, in which our poignant attempts at form fail to make order.” —Joyelle McSweeney, 

Publication of this title made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.


10.28.11 | Greensward by Cole Swensen reviewed in Lana Turner

10.07.11 | Greensward by Cole Swensen is reviewed on Rob McLennan’s blog

12.16.10 | Greensward by Cole Swensen reviewed in On the Seawall

12.09.10 | Greensward by Cole Swensen reviewed in Montevidayo

Cole Swensen

Cole Swensen is the author of twelve volumes of poetry, most recently Ours (University of California Press, 2008) and The Glass Age (Alice James Books, 2007). Her 2004 title, Goest, was a finalist for the National Book Award; other volumes have won the Iowa Poetry Prize, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Book Award, Sun and Moon's New American Writing Award, and the National Poetry Series. She is the co-editor with David St. John of the recent Norton anthology American Hybrid. A 2006 Guggenheim Fellow, she has also received grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, the Shifting Foundation, and the Camargo Foundation and has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes. She is also a translator of contemporary French poetry, prose, and art criticism; her translation of Jean Fremon's The Island of the Dead won the 2004 PEN USA Award for Literary Translation, and she has received translation grants from the Association Beaumarchais and French Centre du Livre. She is the founder and editor of La Presse, a small press dedicated to experimental French poetry translated by English-language poets, and the co-director of the annual Reid Hall Translation Seminar in Paris. She was the writer-in-residence at Yale’s Beinecke Library in 2007-2008, where the project Greensward was conceived and written. She has served as a visiting writer at Brown University and Grinnell College, and is on the permanent faculty of the Iowa Writers' Workshop.