Cole Swensen

Cole Swensen

1955 – ...

Cole Swensen (born 1955, in Kentfield, California) is an American poet, translator, editor, copywriter, and professor. Swensen was awarded a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and is the author of more than ten poetry collections and as many translations of works from the French. She received her B.A. and M.A. from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz before going on to become the now-Previous Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Denver. She taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa until 2012 when she joined the faculty of Brown University's Literary Arts Program.
Her work is considered Postmodern and post-Language school, though she maintains close ties with many of the original authors from that group (such as Lyn Hejinian, Carla Harryman, Barrett Watten, Charles Bernstein,) as well as poets from all over the US and Europe. Her work is hybrid in nature, sometimes called lyric-Language poetry emerging from a strong background in the poetic and visual art traditions of both the USA and France and adding to them her own vision.
In the USA, Cole Swensen’s ninth collection of poetry, Goest (Alice James Books, 2004) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Earlier works have been awarded a National Poetry Series selection, Sun & Moon’s New American Writing Award, the Iowa Poetry Prize via University of Iowa Press, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Book Award, and two Pushcart Prizes. Her translation of Jean Frémon’s The Island of the Dead won the 2004 PEN USA Literary Award for Translation. She has also received grants from the Association Beaumarchais and the French Bureau du Livre.