With crisp lines, precise yet vibrant language, and rare communicative power, Cohen--the founder of the We the Poets outreach program at the nonprofit ArtWell--invites readers in, exhibiting a light, welcoming touch throughout. The lively “Red Flags” likens the Spotted Lanternfly to “winged bits of red / cellophane, undiluted traffic lights,” two ways of seeing the invasive insect that will stick with anyone who reads them, while poems about children mine universal feeling from sharply rendered specifics: “The Children Sequester Themselves” concerns kids’ eagerness to hide in play castles or forts, like their parents once did, a tendency that reveals “all of us, desirous // of any dark space to launch into.”
Cohen’s work is uncommonly accessible in form and language yet rich in potential meanings and ambiguities. She resists the urge to gild or burden the glittering bits that she collects from the world around her. Instead she catches them, examines them, commemorates them for the rest of us, and lets them go.
Takeaway: An inviting, incisive collection of poems about making art and finding meaning in the swirl of life.
Great for fans of: Jane Hirschfield, Tess Taylor.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A