Approaching Cooke’s Opera, my nomadic antennae twitch with the pleasures of ‘a double shudder’: the recognition of an elegantly contemporary music, and the discovery of a different, southerly meridian. The play with ordered forms is wonderfully defeated, exceeded, flooded by an enriched, vibrating language that is always many. The thought it proposes is a ‘linguistic procreat’ of major dimensions.
Original, arresting, fresh in both language and approach, Opera uses all the dimensions of poetry to evoke the immediacy of place. Geologies, floras, faunas and human cognition are entwined into local singularities, which Cooke privileges as the shaping force of a new poetry.
The bones of language transmogrify in Cooke’s luminous and sensual, sublime and elemental landscape. His glyphic libretto—estuarine, alluvial, fluvial—drifts across a cardio-lingual topography. This macro-lensed poetry, this extraordinary Opera, is all beauty.
With Zalehah Turner in Rochford Street Review
with Alice Allan in Poetry Says