John Cole grew up gay on a tobacco farm in the rural bluegrass
before the word had reached Kentucky. His mother regularly read poems to him
growing up, of others and of her own making, so that poetry was as much part of
the vibrancy of his being as the tilled earth and rituals of the seasons. Although
he suffered in the small-town schoolyard from bullies, on the farm he dwelt in
a kind, fertile, magical realm of boundless surprise and undying mystery.
Poetry grew in him as if planted there by nature itself. It’s as southern as