Cole Swensen

Poet and French translator

Matt Gold

Cole Swensen

Cole Swensen is the author of 17 volumes of poetry, most recently On Walking On (Nightboat Books, 2017) and a volume of critical essays, Noise That Stays Noise. Her books have won the Iowa Poetry Prize, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Book Award, and the National Poetry Series and have been finalists for the National Book Award and twice for the LA Times Book Award. She’s translated over 20 volumes of poetry and prose from French and has won the PEN USA Award in Literary Translation. A former Guggenheim Fellow, she is the co-editor of the Norton anthology American Hybrid and the founding editor of La Presse. She divides her time between Paris and Providence RI, where she teaches at Brown University.

cover image of the book Now, Now, Louison

Now, Now, Louison

by Jean Frémon

Translated by Cole Swensen

The extraordinary artist, the spider woman, the intellectual, the rebel, the sly enchantress, and the “good girl” sing together in this exuberant, lithe text beautifully translated by Cole Swensen.

This brilliant portrait of the renowned artist Louise Bourgeois (1911– 2010) shows a woman who was devoted to her art and whose life was also that of her century. The art world’s grande dame and its shameless old lady, spinning personal history into works of profound strangeness, speaks with her characteristic insolence and wit, through a most discreet, masterful writer. From her childhood in France to her exile and adult life in America, to her death, this phosphorescent novella describes Bourgeois’s inner life as only one artist regarding another can.

Included as an afterword is Frémon’s essay about his own “portrait writing” and how he came to know and work with Louise Bourgeois.

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