Though she published only five volumes of poetry over the course of her career, Jane Cooper (1924–2007) was deeply admired by her contemporaries, and teaching at Sarah Lawrence College for nearly forty years, she served as a mentor to many aspiring poets. Her elegant, honest, and emotionally and formally precise poems, often addressing the challenges of women’s lives—especially the lives of women in the arts—continue to resonate with a new generation of readers.
In Jane Cooper: A Radiance of Attention, Martha Collins and Celia Bland bring together several decades’ worth of essential writing on Cooper’s poetry. While some pieces offer close examination of Cooper’s process or thoughtful consideration of the craft of a single poem, the volume features reviews of her collections, including a previously unpublished piece on her first book, The Weather of Six Mornings (1969), by James Wright, a lifelong champion of her work. Marie Howe, Jan Heller Levi, and Thomas Lux, among others, share personal remembrances of Cooper as a teacher, colleague, and inspiration. L. R. Berger’s moving tribute to Cooper’s final days closes the volume.
Jane Cooper: A Radiance of Attention will be a welcome addition to the collection of anyone who has already come to love Cooper’s work and will attract new readers, especially among younger poets, to her enduring poems.
“Jane Cooper has been engaged in a long patient act of making a consideration of self-in-the-world vigorous, humble, and fierce all at once.”
—Mark Doty, author of My Alexandria