Allan Cooper

Allan Cooper has published a dozen books of poetry, including, The Alma Elegies, Gabriels Wing and Singing the Flowers Open. He has twice won the Alfred G. Bailey Award for poetry and received the Peter Gzowski Award in 1994. He is the founder of Owls Head Press and has been the editor of the intermittently-published literary journal Germination since 1982, when he took it over from Harry Thurston. Cooper is also a songwriter and performer. His recent musical projects include Rosedale and Songs for a Broken World. He lives in Alma, New Brunswick.


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The Alma Elegies
Allan Cooper

2007 / Poetry / $15.95
9781554470365 / Trade paper / 48 pp


A two-part volume of poetry, Allan Coopers Alma Elegies pairs the poems from his very first book with new poems written in the same place. The first half of the book was written in the autumn of 1978, when Cooper was living alone in his great-uncles house. These poems were published the following year in Blood-Lines. Twenty-five years later, having raised a family in the same house, Cooper has written a series of reflections or answering poems about occupying that space and about the coming of winter years later.

Coopers early poems attend to the qualities of light, the texture of the soil, the turning of leaves and the build-up of snow with the gradual onset of winter. Inside the house, Cooper comes to know rooms still occupied by his ancestors as he makes space for his own occupation as a descendant and as a poet. These realizations are accompanied by tributes to the work and lives of other artists Herman Hesse, Vincent Van Gogh, Robert Bly whose paths inspire Coopers own and whose painting and writing supply images parallel to those in his immediate surroundings.

In the second half of the collection, entitled The Gathering Cold, Cooper offers reflections imbued with some of the same local imagery and personalities. These new poems also acknowledge the weight of decades gone by and the sense of belonging that has developed over time. Coopers work engages the spirit of days and lives passed, and the animism of his environs. Here too, former existence filters into the present, as the light of bygone mornings colours the poets view of ones that follow, and bygone generations continue to fill the rooms of his familys home.

According to the author: "In the fall of 2004, I told poet Harry Thurston that it had been twenty-five years since my first book, Blood-Lines, was published, and about fifteen years since it had gone out of print. I wanted to do something with it, but it seemed too small on its own. Harry suggested that I write a new sequence of poems to accompany it. The time seemed right: for years I had lived in the ancestral house in Alma, NB, with my family. But now my daughter was entering university and my wife was teaching full time. During the days I found myself in an ocean of solitude. So I started writing answering poems. The tradition seems lost now, but Wang Wei and Pei Ti wrote the Wang River Sequence over 1200 years ago twenty poems each. The object was for one poet to write a poem, and the other to answer him. I decided to write answering poems to myself, still facing many of the issues and concerns I felt in 1978."

Other Books by this Author

The Deer Yard
Harry Thurston, Allan Cooper

2013 / Poetry / $17.95 CAN / $17.95 US
9781554471201 / Trade paper
Gabriel's Wing
Allan Cooper

2004 / Poetry / $18.95 CAN / $18.95 US
9781894031837 / Trade paper
Singing The Flowers Open
Allan Cooper

2001 / Poetry / $49.95 CAN / $49.95 US
9781894031400 / Fine
Singing the Flowers Open
Allan Cooper

2001 / Poetry / $14.95 CAN / $14.95 US
9781894031394 / Trade paper

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