Hosting a weekly comedy/cabaret show at Club Cumming in New York City, as well as a weekly podcast entitled Seek Treatment, it’s hard to imagine where Cohen found the time to write a book of poetry–but write one she did, and it is a groundbreaking debut collection.
For anyone who has, on occasion, found poetry to be a tad inaccessible, Cohen has an answer. In her debut collection God I Feel Modern Tonight: Poems From a Gal about Town (released by Knopf this Groundhog Day), Cohen blends poetry and 21st-century lingo with grace and hilarity.
Cohen’s hyper-confessional style lays bare all her thoughts on everything from fame to relationships, modern conveniences (how much we love/hate them), and the gory truths about being a human woman out in the world.
In such pieces as the fabulously titled ‘poem I wrote after I went to Tuscany to journal about my toxic guitar teacher,’ Cohen muses on such pressing topics as cell phone addiction and sex.
“Going swimming is an amazing way to stop being on your phone,” she says, before leaping effortlessly into how “sex with its slime and guts/and romance if you’re drunk/[is] nothing like swimming you know/when it’s done.”
Cohen’s poems effortlessly blend the fun, punchy brevity of a Twitter feed with the metaphysical. In ‘poem I wrote after I took a photo of my tits alone with a self-timer like an adult,’ Cohen pairs selfies with a quest for the divine, stating “you’re surprised when I tell you I pray/but I like the idea of wanting something/all the way/into space.”
In the pandemic poem entitled ‘poem I wrote after I asked you if cereal can expire,’ Cohen lays bare the pettiness and cosmic loneliness of quarantine and of regular life while tackling the misapprehension that the end of the quarantine will mean a return to a perfect world.
“I miss feeling alive/by which I mean crying about my perfect life/and boys who don’t know how to dress themselves.”
At the end of one of the most difficult years in recent history, Cohen’s confessional debut is just the balm we need. Tackling everything from the pandemic to therapy to YouTube beauty tutorials, Cohen proves she can turn almost anything into art. As she so aptly puts it in ‘road trip poem #12’, “no one ever got any good ideas/ from feeling perfect.”
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