Poetry. Literary Nonfiction. In this genre-blending collection, Julia Cohen entwines the lyric and the essay with text messages, transcripts of therapy sessions, letters between Paul Celan and Nelly Sachs, meditations on Levinas and John Coltrane to document a love story about language, suicide, anxiety, atheism, and finding a way back to feeling.
"In ways unforeseeable until the very fact of this book, Julia Cohen re-interrogates and reintegrates that ongoing paradox Psyche presents us–figure that refuses to stabilize the ongoing crisis between soul and mind. As of Psyche of old, Eros lurks everywhere, even in absence. But here, resisting the ease of mere allegory, Cohen stitches together differing forms of texts—lyric verse, prose poems bordering on the surreal, brief narratives, excerpts from psychoanalysis—to unfold the agonized reality of a lover's attempted suicide. I WAS NOT BORN opens in the ex- treme difficulty of relations falling apart; it ends in affirmation that word calls out as a lover calls—be it in sonnet or be it in text message—to its dearest counterpart, world."—Dan Beachy-Quick
"In I WAS NOT BORN, Julia Cohen kindles a pillar of fire that reminds us that we do not always get out alive, that not everyone survives her or his youthful dreams. Like 'breaking into an apple,' the nourishment, the seeds, the core of life pulses throughout this accomplished work."—Brenda Coultas
"Julia Cohen proves herself a protean writer, engaged with both world and word, playing for keeps. A finely etched portrait of a relationship with a suicidal lover proves but the portal for the author to recover a self and bid it sing. A beautiful, original, and deft achievement."—Maggie Nelson
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About the Author
Julia Cohen is the author of COLLATERAL LIGHT (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013). Her first full-length book, TRIGGERMOON TRIGGERMOON (Black Lawrence Press), was published in 2010, and her third collection, I Was Not Born, will be released by Noemi Press in 2014. Her poems and lyric essays appear in such journals as jubilat, New American Writing, Kenyon Review Online, Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, and Black Warrior Review. She teaches and lives in Chicago.