Imago for the Fallen World, Matthew Cooperman’s 2013 book is an epic-length series of poems and images he compiled with his friend Marius Lehene. The chief methodology for both text and image is collage, a grafting together of dissimilar materials which contributes to bigger secondary and tertiary readings. Textually Cooperman deploys numerous poetic techniques, such as composting, textual destruction, still-life like lists of objects/concepts/text-names, and one way epistolary to get his ideas across. Lehene also uses contemporary techniques, blending media, overlays and the like so that the work visually and textually coheres.
The work is as adventurous as it is revolutionary. Both artist and writer are pushing forward to give a composite story of us, one which many Americans will relate to, and a worldwide audience might see as a coming into awareness of self that America is so sorely in need of. The techniques use are one of the most expedient and necessary means to tell this story. This pushes the polyphonic technique into a multi-representational field which works more as a hyper-cubism. This awareness of time/space and multi-perspective-ism is a big leap forward in our understanding of the world around us. This work is as much looking at the reader as the reader is looking at it.
Once the average reader gets over the vertigo inducing nature of this, they become aware of being at the center of a vast armature of a mobile sculpture, a mobile of images, thoughts, and experiences with which they can look back inward at themselves. In turns terrifying and gorgeous Imago decouples us from a singular perspective and projects outward into a hinged multiplicity that delights, discourages, loves and criticizes this contemporary life. Ultimately this is a work for everyone, one that could push our awareness of self and others outward into a community of expanding consciousness, conscience, and mutual care of that self and other. This book comes with my highest commendations and respect.
About the reviewer:
M. Cooper is an inland empire poet, PoetrIE member, CSUSB MFA Graduate, Veteran, and parent to two great sons: Markus & Jonathan.