Black Lawrence Press
January 30, 2010

Swerve by Bruce Cohen

Hot off the presses!

Swerve by Bruce Cohen is now available from Black Lawrence Press.

ISBN 978-0-9826228-5-8, $14.00

Advance Praise

Stylishly brilliant in his guise of I’m Just-Like-You, Bruce Cohen has written a tutorial on the excesses of the American soul (the millennial dream-life tragi-comic version).  Etiquette lessons, indeed!  He knows the one thing worth knowing in this life: that humor turns the absurd into the marvelous.  I love these poems for their compassionate but still hot gossip and their karaoke wisdom.  Each one offers absolutely dead-on glimpses of what’s human about us humans.  Buddha reincarnated as Notorious B.I.G.?  I’ll buy that.

–David Rivard, author of Sugartown

If you were to splice the DNAs of  Walter Mitty and Salvador Dali, or Cuisinart together the collected  works of Louis Simpson and Dean Young, you might get the poems of Bruce Cohen.   His suburban speakers are often cleaning the garage or steaming off wallpaper in the bedroom, but secretly they are involved in criminal adventures of the imagination, in subtle and hilarious cultural critique, in fantasies of quiet desperation. These are  rampages of irony, tenderness and wit, furnished with the verbal wizardry and bravado of a quiet maniac—as in “Hotel Chain,” where “the in-room coffee labeled decaffeinated/ Gives us amnesia…There are remnants in every /mirror of women putting on their faces. Bibles are blank/ & escort services are circled in the yellow pages.” This is terrific work from start to finish, by a bright new poetry star in the American sky.

–Tony Hoagland, author of What Narcissism Means to Me

Like the paintings of Rene Magritte, the songs of Tom Waits, and the Coen brothers’ films, Bruce Cohen’s poetry offers observations that are simultaneously razor-sharp recognizable and arrestingly askew. Swerve is both haunting and hilarious, coolly surreal and stingingly poignant. As the best literature always does, this collection knocked me off-balance as it expanded my understanding of the absurdities, challenges, and dividends of modern life. Cohen sits at the top of my short list of favorite contemporary poets.

–Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed

The discursive, confiding, & generous speaker of these poems is someone like your best pal (if you’re lucky), living the same life you are, asking his questions while watching a Jerry Lewis telethon, cleaning out the garage, meditating (outrageously) on the perfect woman; he’s on the road, on business, staying at Strange Hotel #36. He’s an ordinary American, smarter than you think at first. By unmasking the ordinary, he points out our self-deceptions & communal delusions: the mixed messages of our lives. These poems will validate your experience; they’ll make you laugh out loud; they’ll make you think; then, at some point they’ll break your heart just for being human.

–Steve Orlen, author of This Particular Eternity

About the Author

Bruce Cohen was born in the Bronx, New York and earned both a B.A. and M.F.A. from the University of Arizona. He is The Director of The Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletes at the University of Connecticut. His poems have appeared in various literary publications including AGNI, The Georgia Review, The Harvard Review, The Indiana Review, The Ohio Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Poetry East, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly & Quarterly West. A recipient of an individual artist grant from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts & Tourism, he lives in Coventry, Connecticut with his wife and three sons.

You can purchase your own copy of Swerve by following this link to the Black Lawrence Press website.



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