In her novel e book of poems God I Feel Contemporary Tonight, creator and comic Cat Cohen takes a ruin from her movement-of-consciousness, Frank O’Hara-inspired riffing to comment on her hold writing be aware. “I can’t write if no one is watching,” she muses. As a comic who’s performed for crowds at Club Cumming in the East Village, gleefully clad in berets and glossy red jumpsuits, it makes sense that she likes having an viewers.
“That’s why the pandemic has been no longer easy,” she suggested me over Zoom. It became early, and her eyeliner, a thick cat look, had been pristinely applied. She laid in mattress with a water bottle; “Sorry, I’m so ‘morning vibes,’” she joked.
“I take care of working in coffee retailers, I take care of going to the Bryant Park library and performing academia,” Cohen said. “It’s noteworthy much less glamorous for these that’re depressed in your sweats take care of, ‘I wish to send this part in.’ I’d noteworthy get hold of having a friend writing in the following room. Otherwise, if no one’s here, I appropriate fracture up take care of eating as a replace.”
What’s a performer to provide when the sector’s no longer a stage? Cohen is most productive identified for her incandescent, buoyant sets, her corpulent-throated cabaret, and her self-deprecation, the comedic mode that’s reach to outline Millennials, especially these it’s likely you’ll per chance well per chance name “very online.” Her bits are clearly resonant; she sang her tune “Leer at Me,” a build of starting assign story about her desire for attention, on Gradual Night with Seth Meyers.
Within the course of quarantine, it’s been priceless for her to search out diversified retailers: her newsletter and her poems, which she started posting on Instagram in 2016. Like her comedy, which is involving, ironic, and private, animated reflections about weekend journeys upstate and non sequiturs about her therapist, her poetry is every achingly self-mindful and reaching for intimacy.
In one poem, “poem i wrote after you went down on me and called me ‘dude’,” she observes her distance from her hold life, writing, “I’ve been making an are trying / to reach up with solutions for my screenplay / so I googled ‘issues that happen to folks.’” Correct just a few strains down, we’re given an earnest reprieve from all this self-diagnosis as she appears to be like at a tree by her window, but the moment is fleeting, and the poem ends: “when any individual hates me it hurts / my feelings surely.” The line ruin marks a rift between “hurt” and “my feelings,” as although her feelings are tacked on, an afterthought. This swiftly oscillation between vulnerability and irony underlies every poem; the attain is take care of scrolling by Twitter, or appropriate joking with a friend.
Characterize: Beatrice Helman
“I mediate poetry and comedy every are confessional steadily and revealing of the creator, and there’s an immediacy to it,” she said. “Being on stage, it’s take care of, I’m fucking going for it. And with a poem, too, there’s nothing to defend it.”
Past that, although, Cohen says her poems and her stand-up are separate mediums, and her influences, including Philip Larkin and Rilke, have a tendency no longer to be overtly jokey, although she does worship Eileen Myles.
“I don’t primarily detect out amusing stuff. After I’m ‘unwinding,’ I always get hold of to take sign to the most depressing, darkish shit, and I take sign to the saddest tune. I don’t primarily care about jokes,” she said, laughing.
The sentiment is amusing coming from a comic. Cohen’s writing considers diversified contradictions, every in its photos (a “gray-haired tween”) and its dramatic events (“any individual who called me a cunt online / appropriate loved my tweet about feminism”). The attain is quickly-paced and disorienting, take care of a coruscating Twitter feed. Cohen knows something about that; she tweets steadily about her work, her mattress, and her weight reduction program (“cant mediate i have faith in depressed health after eating most productive olives and chilly brew today……..” she tweeted. “is that this a cleanse?”), and has been accused of misusing her online platform after sharing a video that insensitively attempted satire. Nonetheless she doesn’t are looking out to be billed as an “Net creator.” As an different, she sees herself as a confessor of her hold experiences, every real and performed, and a chronicler of neatly-liked life and its absurd trek, every online and off.
Excerpt courtesy of Cat Cohen
When requested about her sequence’s title, Cohen said, “Anytime I’m performing personhood, that makes me feel neatly-liked. I appropriate mediate neatly-liked is take care of, any individual who’s very of their life,” she said. “There are moments the assign I are looking out to feel that or produce feel that.” By hook or by crook, her poems feel take care of an are trying to share these moments of unique-mindedness, couched although they may well per chance well very nicely be in disorienting stretches spent scrolling. There’s a amusing story relating to the note “pc,” “which already feels take care of a note from the previous”; there are strains about getting married or waking up early “as a amusing story”; there’s a one-liner about “life hacks”. Cohen’s tone here is rightly absurd; how else may well per chance well per chance the mess of recordsdata emitted day to day into the sector be noticed but with wry acceptance?
Nonetheless, as in life, there are moments of sincerity that ruin by. In “poem I wrote after I didn’t drink for six days and considered starting a cult,” Cohen writes, “I get hold of a disease the assign I never need / to secure out of the uber / as a consequence of then it capability I wish to be somewhere.” Within the throes of all that lightness, this confession exhibits her vulnerability—and that’s precisely the level.
“Making something else is inserting something out and pondering, who will survey this and feel much less on my own, and in turn construct me feel much less on my own?” Cohen said. “And if folks don’t listing to it, you admire, blessings upon them.”
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