Thursday, April 24, 2008

Poet Jane Cooper (1924-2007)

This morning I found out that my wonderful teacher and mentor, Jane Cooper, has died -- actually that she died last fall, a few months after Grace Paley. I knew about Grace from the Times, but somehow I missed Jane's obit, here.

Jane was kind enough to get me my first job -- an actual job in the actual field of poetry, a miracle in itself. We kept in touch until I moved to Asia -- pre-internet. I'm too sad to write more, but I wanted to note and honor her passing. Here's one of her poems:


Anyway we are always waking
in bedrooms of the dead, smelling
musk of their winter jackets, tracking
prints of their heels across our blurred carpets.

So why hang onto a particular postcard?
If a child's lock of hair brings back
the look of that child, shall I
nevertheless not let it blow away?

Houses, houses, we lodge in such husks!
inhabit such promises, seeking the unborn
in a worn-out photograph, hoping to break free
even of our violent and faithful lives.

From: Calling Me From Sleep, by Jane Cooper

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