Swensen's poetry is filled with delicate and precise illuminations. The ordinary things to which the poet turns her gaze are revealed to be astonishing, full of the withheld, or at least the under-observed.
In her newest collection, The Glass Age (Alice James Books, 2006), she explores the perceptive space of the transparent-- of glass-- revealing, as John Ashbery puts it that "seeing is believing sometimes, but believing is almost always seeing." Her poetry is described as scholarly, meticulous, daring, assured, thoughtful--and like the reflective and penetrable surfaces she describes the poems manage to hold all of these qualities and yet remain utterly luminous.
Cole Swensen is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Goest, which was a National Book Award finalist. She is the recepient of the San Francisco State Poetry Center Book Award, two Pushcart Prizes, a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, and her work was a National Poetry Series Selection. She is on the permenant faculty of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and she divides her time between Iowa, Washington DC and Paris.
*From Library Journal