This is the second collection of poems to be published by the author, and it follows the same format of his previous collection, with a specially-commissioned painting accompanying each of the twenty-eight poems which form this new collection. The artist, Cherry, or Valentina Cherneva, to use her full name, has once again captured the essence of each of the poems quite remarkably, and her work seems to enhance the poet’s voice in a subtle and simple manner that adds a unique charm to each of his books. But here, we get a new sense of the author’s scarcely-contained anger which was absent from his previous book, and a lot of these poems are statements which reveal perhaps a darker side to the lyrical poet.
Many of them are also addressed to famous people or celebrities, such as Leonardo Di Caprio and Penelope Cruz, and the reader gets the sense of the poet’s admiration and appraisal, with no hint at all of hidden envy or begrudging, almost as though he knows them on a personal level. The first poems thus describe people and personalities, ranging from politicians and pop-stars to personal friends or strangers encountered on buses or elsewhere.
Then come the more involved poems that enter the darker realms of the author’s imagination concerning life and ageing and moving to new fields of awareness and understanding, and from where the sense of anger pours out like so many statements of contempt and acceptance, albeit reluctantly. Poetry cannot change the state of the world, and the poet has no illusions about that, but it can help the medicine go down, like so many spoonfuls of sugar.
Mr. Cooke’s second collection is then a bitter-sweet remedy that will be appreciated by the discerning reader.