William Rossa Cole

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William Rossa Cole
Born(1919-11-20)November 20, 1919
Staten Island, New York
DiedAugust 2, 2000(2000-08-02) (aged 80)
New York City
OccupationWriter, poet, anthologist, editor
Genrelight verse, children's literature, anthology
Notable worksI Went to the Animal Fair: A Book of Animal Poems, Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls: Poems, The Birds and Beasts Were There: Animal Poems

William Rossa Cole (November 20, 1919 – August 2, 2000) was an American editor, anthologist, columnist, author, and writer of light verse. He produced around 75 books, most of them anthologies.

Cole was born on November 20, 1919 to William Harrison Cole and Margaret O'Donovan-Rossa of Staten Island, New York. He was the younger brother of Rossa Willam Cole. His grandfather was the Irish Fenian leader Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa.[1]

After military service in World War II, Cole took various jobs in the publishing industry, serving as publicity director at Alfred A. Knopf, publicity director and editor at Simon & Schuster, and publisher of William Cole Books at Viking Press. He was also a prolific writer and anthologist, editing and authoring over 75 books, as well as columns in Saturday Review. Many of his books were honoured by the American Library Association, including I Went to the Animal Fair: A Book of Animal Poems (named a notable book of 1958, and on the List of Notable Children's Books of 1940–1959), Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls: Poems (named a notable book of 1964), and The Birds and Beasts Were There: Animal Poems (honoured in 1965).[2]

Cole's whimsical poetry often appeared in Light Quarterly and was widely anthologized, as in The Oxford Book of American Light Verse and various collections by Willard R. Espy.

Cole died in his Manhattan home, aged 80, in 2000. He was memorialized in a poem by Seamus Heaney, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.[1]



  1. ^ a b Heaney, Seamus (October–November 2001). "In Memory of Bill Cole". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  2. ^ Pace, Eric (August 8, 2000). "William Rossa Cole, 80, Author And Editor of Children's Books". The New York Times. Retrieved December 26, 2013.

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