Tuesday, October 14, 2014

JoAnna Penn Cooper's What Is A Domicile

Joanna Penn Cooper’s What Is A Domicile, published by Noctuary Press, explores reality and memory intertwined from domestic life versus nature, of dreams and reality. It is a complex and beautiful collection, I am happy to share some inviting tidbits with you:


I’m writing to inform you of my qualifications on this sunny day inside wearing silent headphones, a small white feather stuck to one foot. I can hear that tree clearing its throat outside my fifth floor walk-up. I can see all this packing and half unpacking of boxes as a compulsive metaphor for how we’re all of us always moving, always learning it all the freaking time: How to lose how to lose how to lose. How to know the dark leather gloss of July leaves and let them go. How to wear the crown of love and fresh pita for lunch and let it go. My life is not a plastic hamster ball. My life is not that refugee song. Not any more than anyone else’s. I’ve cured myself of being so meta, or else I’ve embraced it. Either way I’m wearing the crown. Either way, we’re all wearing the crown.

--I can picture the poet at her writing desk staring out the window and letting her thoughts flow onto the paper. This makes me contemplate life, too, especially the “losing” and “letting go” of things. How we often have to learn this the hard way, letting things go and moving on. “My life is not a plastic hamster ball”—references the idea that she does not live in a bubble safe from the world’s afflictions. It’s a great poem for freeing our own thoughts on life’s journey.

All these dreams: Some interview in a large house and who will take care of it.

Having woken: A kind of yelling back and forth about the work they’re doing out there. Trying to clean the fine grit yesterday’s work left.

In the dream: A movie that isn’t a very good movie in a small round room. The good part is in the water under our feet. A turning whale.

Awake: Dread of small tasks. Resentment. Leaves out dirty windows, seeming to greet your.

Another dream: Staying in your home, an orphan. Staying in your orphan tower.

--What actually grabbed my eye in this poem was “Awake: Dread of small tasks. Resentment…” because it is often when I awake from dreaming that all the small tasks of the day come flooding into my mind and I dread them. So this dream/wakeful state is a wonderful illustration of daily life for many of us. You cling to the memory of the dreams while your brain begins work on the daily tasks. The orphan and orphan tower at the end makes me think that the poet wants to stay in her dreamworld and forget about the waking one.

This year
let your eyes focus
then let them go wild

Eat the air

--This poem is just a plain guilty pleasure to share. I want to follow its advice.

If you enjoyed this review, you may purchase a copy of Joanna Penn Cooper’s What Is A Domicile for $14.00 at:

If you’d like to learn more about Joanna Penn Cooper, visit her blog at:

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