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The poems of Daze form a prospect on time – the passing of literal days, the ephemerality of the body, frangible memory, American speed, the crisis of late modernity. Daze charts out the periods of our belief, blending personally-lived experiences with wildly assimilative narratives which make up our blurred identities. Written as a series of series, Daze works out the demands of the diurnal by interlocking poems both discretely within sections and across sections. Challenging the moral entropy of the 21st century, Daze is as much a view of bewilderment and outrage as it is the beautiful or true expression of poetry.
Serial poems, whether lyric or in prose, are the technical means of embodying this vision. Written as a series of series, Daze works out the challenge of the diurnal by interlocking poems both discretely within sections and across sections. There are three such sections – view, ink, bed – deploying a series of odes, calendrics, personations, textual deformations and possessive identities. As Robert Duncan’s opening epigraph suggests, “my mind is a shuttle among / set strings of the music / lets a weft of dream grow in the day time, / an increment of associations ... the twisted sinews underlying the work.” Pressure is placed on syntax and in form as a practical response to bewilderment. In this regard the poems of Daze are tinged with the pragmatism (and texts) of Emerson, Dewey and Isaiah Berlin, as well as the actual and imaginative “instruction” of Hesiod’s Works and Days and Virgil’s Georgics. There is also, one hopes, some humor.
‘In the world of Daze, “Far from home cries/here I am,” and the body you thought was yours may turn out not to be. In this world it is not easy to believe in the word. It takes probing impulse against pulse, prowl against prow. It takes careful observation and a fine intelligence. Then finally there can be a text where “the light, like a lacquered comparison to China, makes a box.”’ —Rosmarie Waldrop
‘The ache of Berryman and the balls of Berrigan – a combination so striking in its language: sonorous, yes, but also snarky; lyrical and yet perky – dare I say perky? I do. As does Cooperman. Moments in Daze are so delicate, and then round the corner comes the stab, the surprise, the knowing frippery and the twinkle-eyed nudge. The poems do daze, they dazz, they does. No other poet has such panache and such beauty: ‘something pure in a heart can hide.’’ —D A Powell
‘Daze is days (the daily everywhere one reads every Daily) and confusion (the Daily Bugle–or is it Bungle?–of constant shock). “And so the parable grows an extra set of limbs to keep track of the/ ‘foliating of experience.’” Cooperman observes that “Today nothing’s ever Euclidean.” Which is to say there is no point to pass through except
the obvious: “I mean to say we die. He dies.” The poet addresses the Daze of the daily and how we are “confused with the multiplicity of our lives, or/how we are always.” His poems contain the philosophical and the plain-spoken, the scientific and the ripeness of 19th century diction, while at all times maintaining a healthy skepticism about language’s capacity to bring us here (or hear), where we have been wandering around lost for many years. Cooperman’s poems tell us that all may not be lost, there may in fact be a home, even if we never get to open its door.
’ —John Yau
‘While ‘Daze’ delivers numerous interlocking forms and inventive substructures, it is at its most engaging when it allows one to simply stumble upon them... Such is the case with the serial poem “Channel Town”, which begins with what seems to be an innocuous narrative that quickly breaks down and reforms as one progresses through its seven pages... Cooperman’s sequence uses the detritus of reportage to show the mutability of language, of narrative and event, and therefore the ease with which such things can be recast as fodder for any kind of argument or action... That the poem works outside of the confines of such a reading, which is to say that it’s as aesthetically interesting as it is ethically engaging, is tantamount to the success of the book as a whole. One moves through the unexpected corridors of ‘Daze’ not to derange the senses but to sense the world’s derangement – the first and indeed most difficult step toward change.’ —Noah Eli Gordon