Dreaming Against the Quotidian: Cogswell's Poetry and Poetics

One of the things that, frankly, astonishes me about you - as a poet - is that you are one of the very few people whose work sounds better, instead of worse, on re-reading. I mean that as a compliment. I've read some of your stuff - not the poems in The Stunted Strong, because I liked them from the first glance - but some of your other work and when I first read it, it seemed casual and even superficial. Then, when I looked at it again three weeks later, I caught the real implications... a chain reaction of emotions orbiting around a core of the only-seemingly simple.

(Alden Nowlan, Letter to Fred Cogswell, 23 January 1959)

Tho I maintain the same opinion of your poems as they appear on the page which I gave you with excessive frankness several years ago; since hearing you read ( a grand experience ) last year; I have begun to think that the spirit, the authentic spirit, a man puts into his reading, is not to be discounted... At any rate, after having heard you read, I acknowledge you as an authentic poet.

(Milton Acorn, Letter to Fred Cogswell, 16 July 1970)


I. Editorial Principles

Selection of Poems

Borealis Press

Textual/Authorial Variants


Translations from French Poets

II. Cogswell's Poetics


Traditional Metres and Form

"Behind the veil of things"


III. Poems

Selected Poems

List of Cogswell Poem Titles Published by Borealis