Review: Wyn Cooper Postcards from the Interior
Wyn Cooper’s latest collection of poetry, Postcards from the Interior, is motionless and frozen like a postcard from which the title gets its name. Cooper’s poems capture singular moments of emotions or people with suggestions of contemplation. But they lack the language that creates depth and imagery. The only distinguishing feature between his prose poetry and verse poetry is the alignment of the words on the page.
His title poem “Postcards from the Interior” frames a house the speaker found while hiking. The last lines are full of consonance that cause the reader to trip while rolling over an awkward line break:
Somehow the wallpaper matches it all,
yellow-brown, dust grey, content
turning to form from floor to ceiling,
a sight to behold on this bring spring day.
Simply listing a few colors with grade-school precision does not constitute imagery that can give birth to sights in the imagination. The house still remains a pile of formless nothings that Wyn may or may not have seen. Ending the line with “content” is ambiguous as to which line it belongs to and is has a harsh repetition of “t” quickly followed by “f”s with “form”, “from” and “floor”, blending all of the words into each other with more of a disruptive sensation than a literary illusion to the idea of formation.
Cooper writes his lines as if he has never seen any of the things he writes about. His removal from the subjects is suggested by his inability to relate them in his lines. Why does he decide to pick on hunters in “Postcard Recipe form Hunting Season”? Who would cook their venison in Ketchup and not butter? In Sprite and not wine? The only uneven heat would possibly be due to campfire flames, and even they bring a glorious flavor to foods they touch.
The slow pace which the poetry moves and the lack of imagery makes his poems dull and ineffectual. It is easy to read one poem and jump to the next without noticing that you have actually completed one thought. What is noticed are the poor line breaks and out of place rhymes, not what you want your poetry remembered for. I haven’t read any other poetry by Cooper, so I don’t know if he is trying something new—attempting to capture the singularity of postcards in his writing, but if he is then he should revisit the power of still-life art. Just because there isn’t any motion doesn’t mean that art doesn’t move.
If you are interested in looking into Cooper's works, he also writes songs, please go to his website: www.wyncooper.com