Nicole Cooley

Nicole Cooley grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. She received her BA from Brown University, her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her PhD from Emory University.

Cooley is the author of eight books—seven poetry collections and a novel. Her poetry collections include Mother Water Ash (Louisiana University Press, 2024); Of Marriage (Alice James Books, 2018); and Girl after Girl after Girl (Louisiana State University Press, 2017), winner of the Devils’ Kitchen Award from Southern Illinois University; Breach (Louisiana State University Press, 2009); and The Afflicted Girls (Louisiana State University Press, 2004), chosen as one of the best poetry books of the year by Library Journal. Her first book of poetry, Resurrection (Louisiana State University Press, 1996), was selected by Cynthia Macdonald to receive the 1995 Walt Whitman Award. She is also the author of the novel Judy Garland, Ginger Love (Regan Books/HarperCollins, 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.”

Cooley has been awarded a “Discovery”/The Nation Award for her poetry in 1994, and in 1996 she received a fiction grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is also the recipient of a New Jersey Arts Council grant and a fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society.

Cooley has taught at Bucknell University and is currently a professor of English and creative writing at Queens College, City University of New York. She lives outside of New York City.