Eric Cole | Man and Beast | Gazelle Books

Man & Beast

Eric Cole

Author: Eric Cole | ISBN: 1897178042 : 9781897178041 | Format: Paperback | Size: 140 x 215mm | Pages: 106 | Weight: .1 Kg. | Published: Insomniac Press – September 2006 | Availability: In Print | Subjects: Works by individual poets: from c1900-

For Irish-born poet and zookeeper Eric Cole

the fourteen lines and rhythmic patterns of the sonnet echo the very building blocks of life. Within the basic structure of simple genetic material lies the limitless potential for the existence of all living things, be they man or beast. So, too, within the simple structure of the sonnet, there is a similar universe of untold possibilities. Now, in these robust and stylish poems, the mysteries of the animal kingdom are explored with genuine scientific curiosity and rendered with tenderness, stimulating language, and unmistakable Irish wit. From the reviled Portuguese man o’ war to the glorious hyacinth macaw, from the elusive snow leopard to the bizarre pangolin, and even to the human animal itself, Cole demonstrates how life exists in inexplicable but nonetheless indispensable variety, and this collection serves to remind us what we stand to lose if we fail to appreciate the small states of grace that befall us in the disappearing natural wonders of our world.

In the most recent issue of Matrix Magazine, managing editor Jon Paul Fiorentino had an incredibly poignant rant or platform that some Canadian poets are making “exaggerated claims against university-educated and popular culture-engaged poets. Apparently the influence of literary theory and popular culture has steered too many young pets away from the church of the pastoral.”

He goes on with much brilliance basically convinces the country of his point without much effort. Really it’s a great piece of writing. Personally and professionally I love this argument, and the fact that Fiorentino is so passionate about this argument and provides clear examples of past pop-culture junky poets like Ginsberg is assuring. I’m not exactly sure if I’m anti-pop culture, I highly doubt that I am. But I love a good fight, especially against such a fan-favourite. “Ultimately,” writes Fiorentino. “the argument is not about form or tradition; it’s about subject matter. And with the subject matter these disenfranchised young poets are positing, they are doing what poets tend to do best: not sell books.” But we’ll see if Fiorentino’s theory that those who write about nature aren’t going to sell poetry books. Of course, my attitude is no one is really selling poetry books, it’s all Soduko, but that’s another bag of pills all together. — Nathaniel G. MoorePlease read the entire review here…

Eric Cole

was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1959. He received a degree in zoology from Trinity College Dublin in 1981 and a degree in English from University College Dublin in 1986. He began his career at the Dublin Zoo in 1982 and has been working at the Toronto Zoo since 1992. He is currently Senior Keeper of Elephants, and hopes to remain so as long as his body allows. He lives in Whitby, Ontario with his wife, Stacy, and three children. Man & Beast is his first book.

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