““Keep your feet moving/and surely/the music will follow.” Surely it is the music that sustains master poet Marcia Cohee. In her long-awaited collection, Story, Cohee gives us luminous lyricism and brilliant, unsparing vision. Passionate and tightly woven, the poems make their way cautiously and with abandon, in bitter winds.”
“Marcia Cohee’s Story is an elegant examination of loss, the shape-shifting a person endures over a lifetime: the things we lose, the knowledge we gain. These poems carry us with the speaker on her journey to make sense of illness and suffering—even unto confronting death and the inevitable orphaning of us all: “When the seed splits the world/ and it falls like a feather”.”
“When writing “is an act of worship,” when “the sentence ends with a comma and will not let go,” a terrible courage finds its way in the dark of Marcia Cohee’s book of poems, Story. We come here to Rilke’s notion that “beauty is the beginning of terror,” where the ignited, often unexpected awe inside of reverence takes hold. “Seeking magnetic north,” her poems are unflinching and target their subjects at point-blank range. “Believe what you will,” she instructs, knowing we do. So, there’s also a sudden, inarguable beauty we discover in each poem’s truth, especially the one which wakes us from sleep: “You are not/who you are.” We have never been so alive, even in the face of death. Former Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz’s phrase, “The thing that eats the heart is mostly heart,” seems to haunt Cohee’s language, line for line, beauty for terrible beauty.”
— Elena Karina Byrne
“With consistent dignity, Marcia Cohee explores several worlds in her new book Story: nature, mythology, and personal experience—especially the realm of serious illness, which elicits from this poet a large and ferocious maturity. Cohee’s beautifully observed imagery, her highly-polished craft, her emotional depth belong to a seasoned poet who earns our respect on every page. This new book is a remarkable effort, worthy of reading—and re-reading—for a long time to come.”
— Holly Prado
Marcia Cohee received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, where she studied under James Tate. She is the author of six chapbooks as well as three previous collections: Sexual Terrain (1986), Laguna Canyon Was Once a River (1991), and Bonefire (1996). More than 250 of her poems have appeared in various literary magazines and anthologies. Active in the Southern California poetry community for many years, Marcia has taught workshops in both poetry and fiction, has read at numerous veunes throughout California, and with her husband Pat, Marcia co-hosted the Laguna Poets readings and edited the Laguna Poets chapbook series, known for nurturing the careers of many talented Southern California poets.