Jim Cohn writes about the linages of poetry
that have presented themselves in and
around The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics
first 30 years of Naropa University (formerly institute)
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Post Beat Poetics
Few stats on Jim Cohn
Born in Highland Park, Illinois, in 1953, he received a BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder in English, and a Certificate of Poetics in 1980 from Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics where he was teaching assistant to Allen Ginsberg. In 1986 he received his M.S. Ed. in English and Deaf Education from the University of Rochester and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. In 1987, he coordinated the first, historic National Deaf Poetry Conference.
Jim is the author of five collections of poetry: Green Sky (1980), Prairie Falcon (North Atlantic Books, 1989), Grasslands (Writers & Books Publications, 1994), The Dance Of Yellow Lightning Over The Ridge (Writers & Books Publications, 1998) and Quien Sabe Mountain (Museum of American Poetics Publications, 2004). Anne Waldman, co-founder of the Kerouac School, described Prairie Falcon as "a strong, shapely collection with intelligence, heart, and love of the breadth of life." Grasslands won praise from Allen Ginsberg for its "inventive, profuse, concise, improvisational, playful and expansive Whitmanic quality." Anselm Hollo said of Quien Sabe Mountain that "one follows this poet on his journeys to places both distant and familiar, trusting him, trusting his words."
Jim began his recording career in The Abolitionists, a North Bay Area collective that featured his long-time musical collaborator Mooka Rennick and guitarist Steve Kimock. Together, they made a now cult classic: The Road (Rudy's Steakhouse, 1995). Inspired by the classic improvisational vocal performances of Jack Kerouac on the 1959 Steve Allen Plymouth Show , Jim then established himself as a powerful spoken word performing artist in his own right with the release of five recordings: The Road (Rudy's Steakhouse, 1995), Walking Thru Hell Gazing At Flowers (Rudy's Steakhouse, 1996), Unspoken Words (MusEx Records, 1998), Antenna (MusEx Records, 1999), Emergency Juke Joint (MusEx Records, 2002), Trashtalking Country (MusEx Records, 2006), and Homage (MusEx Records, 2007). Combining an inimitable mix of American roots music & original spoken word, Jim's recordings air on radio stations in-the-know.
After the death of Allen Ginsberg in April 1996, Jim began planning for an online poetry project that would explore affects of Beat Generation poetics activities after the poets that created the best works of the period were gone. He envisioned a site that would serve as an expression of Ginsberg's idea of a "benevolent sentient center to the whole Creation." During the summer of 1997, Jim founded the on-line Museum of American Poetics (MAP) at www.poetspath.com. MAP is an expression of his ongoing commitment to American experimental poetics, community service, postbeat era documentation, and democratic internet free speech. In 1999, the Museum of American Poetics became the first online poetry site to be mentioned in the New York Times.
by Gary Parrish