Ether Sea Projects

About the Book

CohenDebts and Obligations

Alicia Cohen

2009 • 104 pp. • $12.00
ISBN: 9781882022663
Poetry

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Alicia Cohen’s poems are divided into mysterious sections that, crossing-over, also all held at once tie wolf-children or people who are animals other than human to nations as if in-formed in the text’s transpiration as if identity set in terms of law and patriarchy in The Oresteia, nature in relation to humans in Moby Dick, and emptiness of identity in the film, Vertigo. The mystery is not concluded in the sector of mothers, infants, and death. Her poems are writing present unfolding as being an act of grace that’s in unrelated individuals at once.

“Alicia Cohen’s poems are divided into mysterious sections that, crossing-over, also all held at once tie wolf-children or people who are animals other than human to nations as if in-formed in the text’s transpiration as if identity set in terms of law and patriarchy in The Oresteia, nature in relation to humans in Moby Dick, and emptiness of identity in the film, Vertigo. The mystery is not concluded in the sector of mothers, infants, and death. Her poems are writing present unfolding as being an act of grace that’s in unrelated individuals at once.”
—Leslie Scalapino

“What singles out these poems is the poet’s power of innocence that renews what she sees. Alicia, with youthful fierceness, creates her continuum of nature, animals and people and makes it move from wilderness to waterless cities, with a magic lightness, “in these, the early/or late years of history’s/early winter.” We want to share that pleasure.”
—Etel Adnan

“The promise of ecopoetics echoes here, strewn with hope, at the edge of a wild continent. The poet sings to stave off regret. Alicia Cohen’s Debts and Obligations is a linguistically sentient excursion into the woven core of animalady.”
—Charles Bernstein

“The poems of Debts and Obligations show the mystery of existence up close and unpackaged. Theirs is an unsettled beauty, animated, emotional, at the rough edge of “the end of the world is always coming.” Alicia Cohen not only makes us aware of our profound debt, but also shows a way of reckoning through discomposing distinctions such as, animal and human, riot and quiet, poet and poem. She writes, “all lives are fires,” indeed, these poems, written with “attention’s fierce flame,” burn with clarity. This is a quietly startling book.”
—Denise Newman

About the Author

Alicia Cohen lives in Portland, Oregon, with her two children and the writer Tom Fisher. In addition to writing poetry and criticism she has shown work in the visual and performance arts, including a gallery installation and poem-opera entitled Northwest Inhabitation Log. Her first collection of poems, Bear, was published by Handwritten Press (2000) and Debts and Obligations from O Books (2009) was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Her poetry has been published in, among others, Ecopoetics, Spectaculum, The Cultural Society, and LVNG, as well as the anthologies War and Peace and Salt: poetry on the Oregon Coast. She was a student in the Poetics Program at SUNY Buffalo and has written on the work of Emily Dickinson, Jack Spicer, Andy Goldsworthy, Leslie Scalapino and others, and has taught literature at Reed College and Portland State University.