Earlier this year, Peter Cooley became Louisiana’s newest poet laureate. The Detroit native who calls New Orleans home has become, over the past decades, a beloved figure in the fabric of Louisiana literature. A longtime Tulane University professor and author of ten collections of poetry—including The Company of Strangers, The Van Gogh Notebook and, most recently, Night Bus to the Afterlife (Carnegie Mellon)—Cooley’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The Nation and The Southern Review. His work has been featured multiple times in The Best American Poetry.
In this installment of On Air, Peter Cooley introduces and reads three poems he wrote about the experience of fleeing home before Hurricane Katrina, listening to the news of New Orleans on the radio during the aftermath of the flooding, and returning to the ravaged city.