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spare change

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An honest and at times an abrasive collection of poetry, sure to tug at your heartstrings.

Irene Cooper uses free-verse style poetry to create a dark and beautiful collection. Spare Change is like watching a car wreck: shocking to the core, but you can't look away. I was fascinated with each poem. Strange and fascinating, Cooper's poetry will captivate you.


"sometimes, in my perversity, i see our dead brother as a priest..."


Morbidity and sexuality are intertwined in many of the poems. The combination of the two is shadowy and unnerving and yet, Cooper laces the two together in perfect harmony. Fans of Edgar Allan Poe will enjoy the macabre nature of this collection.


"she now seems different in the light bathed of morning dew dried gold no flat florescence of hospital no glow of casino human moonless and lonesome by the slots in the ward..."


Irene Cooper's honesty about life, death, addiction and more can trigger some. However, the poems are worth reading, even if you are sensitive to such jarring material. The topics are not exploited but rather respected.


"i guess before your body turns to stone tragedy comes wrapped in other colors ash & smoky azure on the bridge end to end with feet..."


Read "spare change" slowly and carefully, soaking in the murky side of life. Irene Cooper is a unique, haunting poet with an old soul. Her words will stab you like a knife but be grateful for the experience. I highly recommend this collection.

Reviewed by

Rachel Patterson's poetry has been published in several literary journals, such as The Penmen Review. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English, and she is completing her MFA in Creative Writing. Rachel lives near Pittsburgh with her husband, son, and three crazy cats.

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About the author

Irene Cooper’s words surface online and in print. She facilitates creative writing workshops in community. Committal, a speculative spyfy novel about family, came out from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press in 2020. spare change: poems is out now. Irene lives with her people and a corgi in Oregon. view profile

Published on March 31, 2021

Published by Finishing Line Press

5000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Poetry

Reviewed by