When the Cicadas Return










Last Window in the Punk Hotel


Last Window in the Punk Hotel
by Rob Cook


Last Window in the Punk Hotel is the most recent collection from one of America's most daring poets. It can be unnerving to read the reality Rob Cook brings to his language, especially when it gets so close to your face. If you don't flinch, or run off, however, his work brings a lot more to you than you might think of bringing to it. Reading these poems closely, looking into their eyes, you can't help but know that no matter which side of the mirror Cook appears to be on, his reflection is pretty much your own. And if it just so happens to be one you've never faced before--which is most likely--then, it's obvious you should have been paying closer attention.

--Paul Roth, editor and publisher The Bitter Oleander

Praise for Rob Cook's Other Work:

Mr. Cook’s third book, Blackout Country, is a treatise on American culture by a writer in full command of his investigative powers. The achievement of any single poem in the collection is a literary pleasure, but the virtue lies in the accumulative impact. A myriad of characters fill the pages. Through their trials we encounter the larger human landscape. The landscape of Blackout Country. In the poem Blood Media, Mr. Cook has a conversation with one of his characters: 'I bought my own blood/with my own money,' says the man holding the ATM door/with his cup of change.//His shirt with the words: HOLD ME I AM NOT A MASS MURDERER... The need for intimacy and the potential of violence to achieve it is one of the complicated dialogues of the book. Another re-occurring theme is the unique loneliness of modern city lives. 'Night needs only to be left alone in a room /with a pencil and a stack of paper./It can type at 65 wpm./It can hear the phone in all its illiterate frequencies./ Night thinks it, too, is a person./Night should appear simple./It can smile for its co-workers, though it wants nothing.

--Matthew Keuter

The images and voice of Rob Cook have been compared to that of Cesar Vallejo. It has been noted that the 'difficulty of his poetry [Vallejo] initially hindered the international recognition it deserves.' Like Vallejo, the poetry of Rob Cook might be considered difficult and the same sort of descriptive language applied to Vallejo’s work 'impressionistic, chaotic, even incomprehensible' might be applied. Vallejo and Cook share the visionary eye, the quick surprise, vulnerability and often a quizzical playful; tone that a child might delight in.

--Mitchell Denning

Lorca knew so well, people are moved by duende. And that guy, the one who knows how to meet the wind, the one you need to read, the one who understands. ..the man who wields surrealism like a wand to summon memories in surprise tastes, measures from poignant to bittersweet....sometimes just plain bitter, that man whose words makes your blood rush dark and furtive... that guy is Rob Cook. Remember his name. He’ll be poet laureate of this country one day. Find his poems online, find his books, wrestle an angel for it, sucker punch a muse to read it. It s not a skill like harnessing, but a release, like inviting the wind in. And when the wind and the poet become one, the duende, the deep song from the center comes alive and breathes its momentary but long lasting touch upon your soul. It’s an intuitive lyrical dance, the duende comes and you get out of the way and put yourself in its way. Rob Cook has mastered the dance.

--Gail Gray






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Rob Cook lives in New York City’s East Village. He is the author of six collections, including Asking my Liver for Forgiveness (Rain Mountain Press, 2015), Undermining of the Democratic Club (Spuyten Duyvil, 2014), Blueprints for a Genocide (Spuyten Duyvil, 2012) and Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade (Bitter Oleander Press, 2013). Work has appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Caliban, Fence, A cappella Zoo, Zoland Poetry, Tampa Review, Minnesota Review, Aufgabe, Caketrain, Many Mountains Moving, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Colorado Review, Bomb (online), Sugar House Review, Mudfish, Pleiades, Versal, Weave, Wisconsin Review, Ur Vox, Heavy Feather Review, Phantom Drift, Osiris, etc.