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Poet unveils new works


Andrea Cohen, communications manager for the MIT Sea Grant College Program, will read poems from her new manuscript, Long Division, on Tuesday, May 22 from 5-6pm in Rm 7-338.

Ms. Cohen spent the last few weeks finishing the poems at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, NH, which she calls a "remarkably inspiring place." She notes that the work's title refers both to long division in mathematics -- "a division in which each step of the process is written down" -- and all of life's other divisions: "division from the self, from others, or from some ideal and what we do in search of some reconciliation." That theme is present in her poem, I Was Always Terrible in Math:

In sixth grade
in a yellow pinafore
in the middle
of long division,
I climbed atop
the teetering book case,
to be God,
which prompted Miss Bromley
to detain me,
though later
she stroked my cheek
and instructed me
not to pretend,
but be.

I would have clipped the wings
of all my angels,
so much did I worship her.

Ms. Cohen, known for her poetry, fiction and essays, received the 1999 Owl Creek Poetry Prize for her first book of poetry, The Cartographer's Vacation. She has also been the recipient of a PEN Discovery Award for poetry and fellowships at the MacDowell Colony.

The reading is sponsored by the Artists Behind the Desk literary arts series.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 16, 2001.

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