The poems in Everything, Andrea Cohen’s seventh collection, traffic in wonder and woe, in dialogue and interior speculation. Humor and gravity go hand in hand here. Cohen’s poems have the rueful irony of a stand-up comic playing to an empty room. But look around: there are wrecking balls, zebras, lovers, milk money. It’s a room to hang around in.
Its offices are thin
air. On days off
it still goes in—
wrecking balls are
hang around up
there, and even
the idea of big
The poems in Everything are so short and sharply formed, and so individually memorable, that one is caught off guard by their cumulative force. This is a work of great and sustained attention, true intelligence, and soul.
This is acutely literary writing that wears its literariness lightly enough for long journeys to unfamiliar places.
…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.