Nicole Cooley grew up in New Orleans. In 2010, she will publish two books of poetry, Breach, published by LSU Press in April, focuses on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and Milk Dress, co-winner of the Kinereth Gensler Award, to appear with Alice James Books in November. Her first book of poetry, Resurrection (LSU Press, 1996), was chosen by Cynthia Macdonald to receive the 1995 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her second book of poetry, The Afflicted Girls (2004), about the Salem witch trials of 1692, was chosen as one of the best poetry books of the year by Library Journal. She is also the author of the novel Judy Garland, Ginger Love (Regan Books/Harper Collins, 1998).
About Cooley, Macdonald has said, "Nicole Cooley speaks in a voice unmistakably her own, a voice which need not demand attention because its quiet confidence is so compelling."
Her poems have appeared in many publications including Poetry, Field, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, and The Nation. In addition to the Walt Whitman Award, she has also been awarded a "Discovery"/Nation Award, and the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America. In 1996 she received a fiction grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
She received her undergraduate degree from Brown University, her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and her PhD in American Literature and Women’s Studies from Emory University. Cooley has taught at Bucknell University and currently directs the new MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College-City University of New York where she is a professor of English. The daughter of poet Peter Cooley, she lives outside of New York City with her husband and two daughters.
Click here to read Nicole's poem Compendium of Lost Objects
Click here to listen to Nicole's interview on NPR's "The Sound of Books"
Click here to watch Nicole read during the 2009 Turnstyle Reading Series