Clark Coolidge

b. 1939
Born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, experimental poet and jazz musician Clark Coolidge has been connected to both the Language movement and the New York School. His poetry utilizes syntactical and sonic patterns to engage, and generate, meaning. In a 1968 poetics statement, he noted, “Words have a universe of qualities other than those of descriptive relation: Hardness, Density, Sound-Shape, Vector-Force, & Degrees of Transparency/Opacity.” Reviewing Coolidge’s collection This Time We Are Both (2010), Olga Zilberbourg observed, “[It] is not a work of a cultural tourist, and neither is it a work of an artist whose sole interest is in creating wordscapes. In this long poem, Coolidge is a mature poet who is aware not only of the deep cultural contexts of his words, but also is aware of his poetry being read in political contexts.”
 
Coolidge’s numerous collections of poetry include This Time We Are Both (2010); Sound as Thought (1990), which was chosen for the New American Poetry Series; Own Face (1978); and Flag Flutter & U.S. Electric (1966). His work is included in An Anthology of New York Poets (1970) and The Young American Poets (1968).
 
A contributing editor for Sulfur, Coolidge lives in Petaluma, California.

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POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

LIFE SPAN 1939–

Biography

Born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, experimental poet and jazz musician Clark Coolidge has been connected to both the Language movement and the New York School. His poetry utilizes syntactical and sonic patterns to engage, and generate, meaning. In a 1968 poetics statement, he noted, “Words have a universe of qualities other than those of descriptive relation: Hardness, Density, Sound-Shape, Vector-Force, & Degrees of . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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