Official Website of Poet/Playwright
Cherryl T. Cooley
“The first poem in Exquisite Heats, Trapeze: The Greatest Show on Earth, is an amazing four part prose poem with burnt language… she launches into that day with sharp crisp language…'bicuspids making mouth wind after meat.' She is experimental, works with a variety of forms… I love this book from the get-go.”
"The poetry of Cherryl Floyd-Miller possesses a bottomless range: formalism that remains fresh in language, lyricism that speaks beyond its music, and narratives with characters we'll never forget."
"I...stretch to bask in each illumination...the fires of humanity and the small heats of love, all of which can burn out, leaving behind extraordinary textures and patterns of ash, which is the extraordinary substance of these poems."
JULENE WEAVER, Poet, Creative Nonfiction and Flash Fiction Writer
A. VAN JORDAN, Poet, Guggenheim Fellow, 2015 Lannan Literary Award Winner
THYLIAS MOSS, Poet, Prose Writer, 1996 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award Recipient
If you let the people who have known me all my life tell it, I'm the free-spirited smart girl, the doctor-lawyer-brain surgeon gone far off the path of capability. In most of my family circles, this makes me a strange bird, someone oddly familiar who always has her nose into some creative thing they don't always understand. They love me in spite of my strange ways and continue to watch what I might be doing next.
I've been asked this question frequently: "What do you write about?" I'll say that it is far easier to talk about what I don't touch as a writer.
I always work very hard to bring music to the page in some form or fashion. I am the daughter of a gospel singing father and a mother who can look at anything once and reproduce it. What else could my voice have inherited but this music?
As a writer, I am also deeply bonded to folklore and myth, Southern culture (especially that of the Carolinas), women and the layers of their stories, what tends to serve 'on the record' as history, family, love infidelities, self-betrayals, historical icons and race ... but I am not bound solely to these matters as subjects. They just happen to be my most frequent creative obsessions. Each of these things is a lens, and any subject I choose to write about is accountable to the complexity of these lenses."
A native North Carolinian, Cherryl T. Cooley has published two single-author volumes of poems, Utterance: A Museology of Kin (2003) and Exquisite Heats (Salt Publishing, 2008). Chops, an art book project released by Nexus Press, won the 2005 AIGA Gold SEED Award and is permanently housed in the Museum of Modern Art. Her stage play, "Settling Sophia," has had workshop and full productions in North Carolina, Michigan and Atlanta, Georgia.
Before 2013, she published as Cherryl Floyd-Miller. She lives in Northern Virginia.
Places I've Been With My Poems
Commissions & Appearances
Pairing writers in 2 literary genres
As a featured writer in this series, I was paired with Michael Gaspeny, who was my college professor and mentor, for an evening of prose / poetry.
RICHMOND, Va. - Acceptance of 2022 Joseph Pendleton Campbell Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of Virginia. Winning poem: "Asters Greet As They Pass While Faintly Smiling." Also, 2nd Place winner of the Karma Deane Ogden Memorial Award for the poem, "Jig."
NEW YORK - "Percussion" poem featured in a concerto by Brooklyn-based musical ensemble Sō Percussion at Lincoln Center for Performing Arts - Aug. 1 & 2. Poem was on the Lincoln website for 3 months. Click here for performance info.