Deformations and Hypothetical Roses : Matthew Cooperman : Review

DaZE by Matthew Cooperman : Salt Publishing : 2006
reviewed by Remy Wilkins

Armed with puns, poetics, and pop culture Matthew Cooperman assaults the modernist agenda that insists on analysis and understanding. It is a mistake to pause too long in the ellipse of his lines & allusions, for all your figuring is wind-herding. Find a way to flow along the daft calendrics and the day’s events like a needle of a spun radio’s dial. The one question you’ll need in reading this book is the one supplied in a poem: is there a rhythm to this madness? O yes, but the facts, as he says, “give way/ in the welter of yearning and ink.”

Puns and the detritus of daily life seem to be at the heart of much tedious and flippant poetry, but Cooperman slips his quips in, offsetting them, so that it is less prating and more nightly news candor; he’s like the Plato of Esquire sprinkling his poems with Eisenhower, Eiffel tower, Bill O’Reilly, Maria Carey, Keanu Reeves, CNN, Compaq, Legos and Mallarme. And while there are places where he is disarmingly funny (“My grandparents died when I was semi-/precious,”), it is without that cloying smartness that often mares humor in poetry.

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