If you want my apartment, sleep in it but let's have a clear understanding: the books are still free agents. If the rocking chair's arms surround you they can also let you go, they can shape the air like a body. I don't want your rent, I want a radiance of attention like the candle's flame when we eat, I mean a kind of awe attending the spaces between us-- Not a roof but a field of stars.Both the James Wright poem I wrote about earlier (linked above) & Cooper's poem have similar structures. Though genre boundaries are notoriously complex & contested, I think it's fair to say that each poem employs a lyric structure, gathering details toward an insight delivered as a punchline. What I admire about Cooper's poem is its lack of special pleading: it is dry, while Wright's poem is unpleasantly moist.
The poet Jane Cooper died in October of this year after a long life in poetry. Her first book came out the year I graduated from high school, I think, but I didn't become aware of her work until about ten years ago. She was a "poet's poet," one supposes, who won prizes but didn't have nearly so high a public profile -- if American poets can be said to have a public profile at all -- as many of her male teachers & contemporaries. She strikes me as a consummate artist. In my own work & as a teacher I love physical detail & plain speaking that "blossom" into emotion. Cooper's poem "Rent" is exemplary: