Everything

Andrea Cohen. Four Way, $16.95 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-945588-68-6
The playful seventh book from Cohen (Nightshade) opens with an epigraph from Antonio Porchia: “Every toy has the right to break.” The opening poem, “Wrecking Ball,” picks up on this motif: “Its offices are thin/ air. On days off// it still goes in—/ wrecking balls are// workaholics.” Divided into four sections, these short-lined poems often border on the spiritedly surrealist or absurd: prison bars become “stripes pried/ from a zebra’s back,” and in the two-line offering “Safety Glasses,” the speaker announces, “The rose tint/ isn’t optional.” Yet in their absurdity these poems subvert assumptions about a world filled with sorrow, silence, and hurt. A master stylist, Cohen uses em dashes and commas with an exactness that allows each poem to become elliptical and self-contained. These poems take no “thing” for granted, not even the concept of eternity, as Cohen declares in “Openings”: “I didn’t want// forever forever.” It is the wit that astounds here, and an intelligence that sees the world anew. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/17/2020
Release date: 02/01/2021
Genre: Poetry
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