Black Lawrence Press

Placebo Junkies Conspiring with the Half-Asleep

Placebo Junkies Conspiring with the Half-Asleep

Placebo Junkies Conspiring With The Half-Asleep, Bruce Cohen’s third book of poems. In these overwhelming quirky meditations, the anti-hero speaker embraces chaos and finds beauty, redemption and compassion in his private world that is off center but recognizable.

Praise

  • "These are poems of unyielding, good-of-heart sensibility, but always at the edge of where the world is hanging on. The words that tell these lives gather themselves at the far reaches of the experiences they reveal, and the speaker is often the unelected rudder in a world that otherwise could—and does—turn so easily upside down. 'Maybe love is just being very polite,' asserts the self-effacing narrator. These poems and this narrator quietly show that it is much more, but that we must indeed work at it heroically every moment. These poems help us to understand why."
    —Alberto Rios
  • "What a goddamn pleasure. Finally we have a poet with both: brains and balls. 'Even / Honest men are dichotomies,' Cohen says and proves it: these poems, frequently aphoristic amidst their plenty, are rangy and quirky and startlingly intimate with their seamless imperatives and seductive interrogatives. 'What if God were common lint?' he asks at one point and then tells you 'I am my own disease I am the cure.' Cohen’s world is large-hearted and generous, achingly observant and piercingly honest; it’s a world in which nothing is allowed to be wasted. His narrator is trenchant and toothy—and funny enough to crack your ribs. How could anyone not want to spend more time with a guy who poses the question, 'What’s a more provocative striptease than the world / Floating by?' How could you not want to ask for his number, then buy him a vodka or two, lean in really close, and ask him to tell you more."
    —Renee Ashley
  • "Here's the truth: I love this book."
    —Alan Michael Parker
  • "A wiseacre who is wise, Bruce Cohen writes of men who are old enough to imagine their own funerals yet get up each day to face the cubicle. His sometimes dark, sometimes hopeful urban landscape includes those who feed the birds at lunch and those who jump from office windows, 'heir parachutes made of obsolete policies'. Remembering the past and imagining the future, he longs for neither and is not fooled by nostalgia. He is one 'listening intently in the human auditorium,' as he puts it, finding it full of life’s pains, pleasures, and paradoxes."
    —Stephanie Brown

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Bruce Cohen

Born in the Bronx, New York, Bruce Cohen’s poems and non-fiction essays have appeared in over a hundred literary periodicals such as AGNI, The Georgia Review, The Harvard Review, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, Prairie Schooner & The Southern Review as well as being featured on Poetry Daily & Verse Daily—He has published three previous volumes of poetry: Disloyal Yo-Yo (Dream Horse Press), which was awarded the 2007 Orphic Poetry Prize, Swerve (Black Lawrence Press) and Placebo Junkies Conspiring with the Half-Asleep (Black Lawrence Press). A new manuscript, Imminent Disappearances, Impossible Numbers & Panoramic X-Rays recently won the Green Rose Prize from New Issues Press and will be published in spring 2016. A recipient of an individual artist grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, prior to joining the Creative Writing faculty at the University of Connecticut in 2012, he directed, developed, and implemented nationally recognized academic enhancement programs at the University of Arizona, The University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Connecticut.

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