Faculty Bookshelf: Bruce Cohen

Books by Bruce Cohen

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Imminent Disappearances, Impossible Numbers, & Panoramic X-Rays (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2016)

“The incessantly multiplying, witty, flummoxed, frivolous, grave, inspired, desperate and serenely exploding chloroplasts of Bruce Cohen’s imagination are driven by an awesome hunger for life all of life, every damn bit! So much of our day-to-day and our most intimate feelings and thoughts makes its way into these poems that you begin to feel that Cohen might be the keeper of some vast secret surveillance system. His mission is our mission (whether we know it or not) total acceptance and his wonderful poems come to show us how it might be done, how it might feel.”  —David Rivard

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No Soap, Radio! (Black Lawrence Press, 2015)

Mutability may be the rightful subject of the twenty-first century, and if it is, Bruce Cohen’s No Soap, Radio! is its funny, wise, and cantankerous handbook. These poems, part Luddite, part intrepid time traveler, inspect, reject, and grumpily give in to the racket of change: the slippage of language from pun to insight, gender transition at the gym, the endless potential of marital argument . . . and vacations on which picking out burial sites is every bit as much fun as finding real monsters under the motel room bed . . . Each poem charms us with oddly reassuring reminders of demolished places where, like Cohen’s displaced Tu Fu, we finally discovered we were supposed to be. —Lisa Lewis, author of Vivisect

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Placebo Junkies Conspiring with the Half-Asleep (Black Lawrence Press, 2012)

Placebo Junkies Conspiring With The Half-Asleep is Bruce Cohen’s third book of poems. In these overwhelming quirky meditations, the anti-hero speaker embraces chaos and finds beauty, redemption and compassion in his private world that is off center but recognizable.

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Swerve (Black Lawrence Press, 2010)

While writing Swerve, Bruce Cohen decided to avoid addressing a particular audience. That is, not an audience of poetry readers. “I just wanted to talk intimately to myself, my family, and my friends,” he says. As a natural consequence, while building these poems Cohen struck upon an essentially authentic voice. With his guard down, with his most intimate familiars as his only audience, he was able to write with startling honesty. The brilliance of these poems is the mixture of that honesty with humor, with sentimentality, and sometimes with horror. In these poems you will find a long-lined American surrealistic sensibility. There is new discovery of language here, playfulness with both vernacular and formal diction. Simply put, you’re going to love this book.

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Disloyal Yo-Yo (Dream Horse Press, 2009)

If you were to splice the DNA’s of Walter Mitty and Salvador Dali, or Cuisinart together the collected works of Louis Simpson and Dean Young, you might get the poems of Bruce Cohen. His suburban speakers are often cleaning the garage or steaming off wallpaper in the bedroom, but secretly they are involved in criminal adventures of the imagination, in subtle and hilarious cultural critique, in fantasies of quiet desperation. These are rampages of irony, tenderness and wit, furnished with the verbal wizardry and bravado of a quiet maniac. This is terrific work from start to finish, by a bright new poetry star in the American sky. —Tony Hoagland