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Divine Margins
Peter Cooley



Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series

Carnegie Mellon
2009 • 72 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
Poetry / Poetry - American

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-88748-494-0



A collection of poetry by Peter Cooley.

In another book of mystic explorations, Cooley mines the decline and passing of his parents’ lives for insights into a Spirit that dwells beyond us, beside us and in us, the poet guided by “the grace light possible to sustain me.” Drawing from received texts in Christian myth for iconic figures he can re-shape as his own, Cooley tries once again to find miracle, even ironic miracle, in the ordinary.

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Reviews / Endorsements



"To accept, following the deaths of his parents, 'how empty of us all the world hungers to be,' Peter Cooley has written a series of aubades ('Or are they elegies?') that offer not only unflinching portraits of his parents leaning into death but unabashed prayers that acknowledge 'the divine made new each day.' Combining spiritual resiliency with belief in the creative process, Cooley recognizes that 'everything I touch is mine and can become a word/if I will listen.' Still astonished by our hours on earth, he asks, 'miraculous, isn't it, what poetry can do?' Yes, we respond, it is, yes."—Michael Waters

"Peter Cooley’s Divine Margins begins by tracking a grieving self’s response to the death of parents. These may be the most extraordinary elegies you will ever read, not only in their lyric beauty but in the candor of their utterance. We feel a soul stripped bare. And then these mediations morph into a radiant re-imagining of Christian faith, 'in which all the words are God’s' and in which 'When I am up and in the spirit/everything I touch is mine.'"—Alicia Ostriker

"What I love most about these troubled narratives is that they do not tell a story; rather, they ask—and fearlessly. With the poet's devotion to particulars, Cooley's lines attend the terms of death, dissolution, and an inexplicable, attendant joy—the quotidian perplexities—and press them for revelation. His is a strenuous grappling with both the world and the word, and he will not let them go, until they bless."—Scott Cairns



PETER COOLEY was born and raised in the Midwest but has lived half his life in New Orleans, where he is Professor of English at Tulane University. Married and the father of three children, Divine Margins is his eighth book of poetry. His work has appeared in The New England Review, The Southern Review, Poetry, and The Paris Review.



Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:36:37 -0500