This week marks the debut of a collection of poems by my good friend Chris O. Cook. Cook’s book, To Lose & To Pretend, is the best volume of poetry I’ve read in the past ten years. (Or maybe it ties with Yusef Komunyakaa’s Pleasure Dome for the top spot, but either way, it’s great.) Chris Cook’s poems are full of manly swagger, and at the same time sublime and moving. His poetry is clear, and clever, and unapologetic, and real. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Aside from being my friend, Chris has the pedigree of a poet who is destined for great things (graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, published in great journals, studied with the greatest living poets, etc.). Simply based on that, I think buying his debut collection of poems could be encouraged as an incredible financial investment opportunity. How much are these first-printings likely to be worth 15 or 20 years from now when he is way more famous? My best guess is: a lot. I have purchased 20 copies, and consider it a cowardly conservative investment. Now is your chance to get in on the ground floor with one of America’s brightest stars of poetry.
All of which is to say, I highly recommend buying To Lose & To Pretend by Chris Cook. He’s a tremendous poet, and you’ll be glad you did.