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Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Tribute to Norma Cole

Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 6 pm, Dia Online

Event Details 
Tuesday, March 16, 6 pm 
Live on Zoom 

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Dia is pleased to announce the upcoming events in its Readings in Contemporary Poetry series. This season, instead of pairing two poets for an evening, curator Vincent Katz has chosen a format that pays tribute to five exemplary poets. For each event, a small group of readers will pay homage to one of the featured poets, followed by a reading by that poet. The featured poet for this event is Norma Cole. 

The tribute readers for this event will be Kazim Ali, Brenda Hillman, Maya Phillips, and Cedar Sigo.

Norma Cole’s forms of expression are ambitious. Her poems often (though not always) take small forms; they are made of short lines, in small stanzas, so that the space of the page starts to play an active role in the reading of them. Subtly, surreptitiously, these small packages explode in delicate, or sometimes not so delicate, arrays of color and attitude. Norma is famous for her empathic connections to people, artists and others, living and dead. Many of her poems carry dedications. She builds community as part of her poetic practice. On the other hand, she reserves a razor-sharp and ice-cold anger for the abuses of power and depradations of the morally corrupt as she observes them in the halls of power, here and around the world. The world is always calling in these poems; sometimes it is being called away, as we are made to look, through Norma’s poems, from the perspective of the universe. It is then that the human quality really shines through. Norma is a visual artist, in addition to being a writer, and has often worked in collaboration with other artists. Not just the look of her poems, but the images she shows us in them, will carry us a long way.

                        Vincent Katz, March 16 2021

Norma Cole was born in Toronto in 1945. She is a poet, painter, and translator. Her most recent books of poetry include Fate News (2018)Win These Posters and Other Unrelated Prizes Inside (2012), Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems, 1988–2008 (2009)and Spinoza in Her Youth (2002). Cole has also published the volumes To be at Music: Essays & Talks (2010) and Actualities (2015), collaboration with painter Marina Adams. Her translations from French include Danielle Collobert’s It Then (1989) and Jean Daive’s A Woman with Several Lives (2009). Additionally, Cole edited and translated Crosscut Universe: Writing on Writing from France (2000).  
Cole has received awards from the Creative Work Fund, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Fund for Poetry, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, and Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative PoetryShe has taught at, among others, the University of San Francisco; Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California; and San Francisco State University. Cole was also a regents’ lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. 

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