The Green Ray

Corina Copp. Ugly Duckling Presse (SPD, dist.), $16 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-937027-58-2
New York poet and playwright Copp’s enthralling debut collection comprises a dozen long poems, several previously published in various chapbooks. Readers unfamiliar with this work will be welcomed to a world of dense, corner-turning intelligence; wry, biting humor; a smart, sly feminism; and the cultural markings of French film, product placement, and a sort of racing anxiety: "I’ll be in the pouting room, hoping not to pay/ anyone for the charm I shall find there/ and wear to ward off evil." Copp finds strength in an ability and willingness to be tonally diverse as she mixes stage directions, catalogs, off-kilter descriptors, and bursts of lyricism. "Antagonist, never let/ Go," she writes, as if reminding herself, "be a love/ That does not know/ How to know human/ Genre crashed on/ The purblind sea." And she consistently demonstrates a willingness to cut the legs out from underneath any stably constructed line, narrative, or continuity in thought or subject: "cloud breaks up officials tucking it/ most atrocious image’s pat on/ check here if your comfort level is near/ hand becoming only a thing in/ his." What emerges from the experience of reading Copp’s poems is a kind of duplication of the internal voice—a harried mind in the ruins of life, culture, and love. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/06/2015
Release date: 04/01/2015
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