Lose & to Pretend
Lose & to Pretend
from Brooklyn Arts Press
'skittery poem of our moment' thing... but succeeds!
dangerous, honest, funny, unmade. I found myself saying 'did
get away with that?' multiple times while reading—always
a sign I've
stumbled across something that I plan to carry around in my bag for a
good long while and imitate when nobody's looking."
--Karyna McGlynn, author of I
Have to Go Back to 1994
and Kill a Girl
Cook's To Lose & to
Pretend is evidence of
a fine mind at work, a collection of poems that never settles for the
obvious. His work probes the apathy and alienation of his generation,
wielding poetics like a cudgel to extract the essential from the
incoherence of pop
culture vapidity that we have accepted as our
metaphor. Startlingly honest, unafraid of humor, these poems force you
to sit down and take notice."
Rao, author of In
Cook is a true Original, in that he is a Classic."
McSweeney, author of The Red
Bird, of The
Commandrine and Other Poems, and
of Nylund, the
kaleidoscope of could have - would
have - should have in Chris Cook's
poetry both dazzles and amazes, taking the reader on a journey into the
buzz of pop culture and the silence left in its wake. Anything is
possible in these poems, and yet there is an awareness of the
limitations of the world, particularly the world that is artificially
constructed. With the scope of Ginsberg and the sensibility of the
Romantics, Cook's poems are a place where listening
rain counts as conversation and
eclipses the grating like rising dough."
Johnson, author of The Waiting,
winner of the 2004
Iowa Poetry Prize
challenge of witty poetry is to manage more than just a string of good
jokes and keen observations, but by their juxtaposition to create an
effect that is greater than the poem's best line. For Cook this must be
particularly difficult, since his best lines are really, really good.
[...] In his strange observation combinations, he communicates
something that can't be said. [...] Cook knows the rules of poetry and
how to defy them, and he knows how to make it worthwhile and fun. [...]
To Lose &
to Pretend is exciting and
Robinson, excerpted from his review
in the Winter '09 JMWW Quarterly
is what many modern teens & young adults feel, and how does
that apathy translate into the world of poetry? To
& to Pretend is the
first anthology of poetry from
Chris Cook. Focusing on the negligence and carelessness of the current
generation, he attacks as well as embraces the attitudes. To
Lose & to Pretend is
something different in the world
of poetry, a good pick."
--Midwest Book Review, from the January
'09 Poetry Shelf
...D'ya hear that,
Radicals from Amazon
Before Their First Books (Subpress, 2004)
of eighteen up-and-comers in the poetry game, as selected by
editors Jordan Davis and Sarah
poems in the volume by Chris
were the first of his to be published in book form, only one of which
went on to be included in To
Lose & to Pretend,
making the poems
equivalent of that rare EP the band put out before the big
album. It will become a must-have for hardcore Chris
fans, just as soon as there are any of those.
also contains the only published Chris
poem to mention his friend Sarah, making the volume of particular
interest to people who are also friends with Sarah.
any of those people remember that one girl Heather, she is also in that
poem. What ever happened to her, anyway? Is she
Novel from Amazon
Facts On File Companion to the American Novel (Facts on File,
2006) is part of
Facts On File's Companion to Literature series, joining companions to
drama, poetry, and the short story. More than 900
arranged entries (by 224 contributors) treat authors and major works.
is author of its critical essays on:
was like, "I can make this the longest essay in
the whole book, right, because Studs
is so awesome?" And Facts on File tried to be all
"Hell, no, Chris
is a low-modernist proletarian grotesque that only boys like; you have
to write a short essay about it." But then Chris
like "Facts on File, don't make me come down there and slap someone."
O. Cook wrote
this because someone else already had dibs on Tropic
the essay did afford Chris
the opportunity to make use of the phrase "The
Fuck" significantly more often than do any of the other 900 entries, as
well as to pretend he understood all the
Henri Bergson stuff.
which people always forget is hyphenated. After Chris
the other two essays, Facts on File called him up and was like "Oooh,
everyone is scared to write the one on Moby-Dick; help
was like "She-yit,
Facts on File, don't you worry your pretty little head. Chris
get aaaaall up in Moby-Dick,
so deep it put your Companion to Literature series to sleep."
on File was like "Chris
you nasty!" And then Chris
figured out Moby-Dick.
(The secret is that nothing means anything, so people should
know, do whatever.)