I’m no poet. So, despite having that master’s degree in the-language-I-learned-when-I-was-two, I’m not in any position to analyze poetry, much less to judge it. I don’t know exactly what makes poetry work, but I know what moves me. And Linda Cooper’s poetry moves me.
In her poems, familiar images from the natural world—leaves and rocks, insects and mosses, water and sky—suddenly have the capacity to startle me. Sometimes it’s the juxtaposition: the unlikely combination, the sound of this word with that. More often it’s a kind of seduction. I follow an idea where I think it’s going, then it takes a wild turn and evokes an emotion I didn’t even know was there: grief, exuberance, hope, fear, longing, emotions sometimes tumbling so fast, one after the next, that I feel off-balance. The experience is part-epiphany and part-healing, always a delight.
You can read examples in literary journals like Hayden's Ferry Review, West Branch, Third Coast, Willow Springs, Hubub, Elixir, Diner, Midwest Quarterly, and Redactions and at the links below.
Wait! That’s not all! Linda Cooper is a nonfiction writer, too, and her essays have that same magic quality that her poems do with an extra-generous helping of her trademark humor. (Everyone I know who ever received one of Linda Cooper’s hilarious holiday letters has kept them to this day.) You can find her essays in Open Spaces: Views from the Northwest, and Concho River Review, and look for her collection, Echolocation, to appear sooner than later.
Little known fact (well, actually semi-well-known in some circles):
Linda Cooper also sings a mean karaoke version of “Dream On."
Steven Tyler beware!