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Local Arts Index: Jayme Cooper

LAI_Jayme Cooper_portraitFor over a century, our region has been home to extraordinary artists. Local Arts Index highlights the work of individuals who continue our community’s rich creative legacy.

Meet poet Jayme Cooper.

How Did You Become an Artist?

I remember being very little, sitting in the back seat of the car, listening intently to my parents’ conversations, waiting for a word I didn’t recognize. As soon as it escaped their lips, I’d snatch it from the air and ask immediately what it meant. Then, I’d put it and its meaning right in my pocket. I’ve always loved words—listening to them and stringing them together.

I think I became an artist because, like all artists, I wanted to make something out of what I loved. So I took those words—the concepts and ideas. I collected them over time, and I made something out of them.

What Kind of Art do you Make?

Out To See 

The sailor knows not why the wind blows,
nor when.

He simply tends to that which
requires his attention.

He mentions not the beastly waves,
nor days he feared
he lost his way.

A quiet soul out in the
vast ocean–
not a sight to behold
but the ship his task is to control.
Immeasurable crests of blue.
Specks of gold.

amidst the cunning sea,
he lives a dream.

For all the angry storms,
pitch-black nights he has seen…
and survived,
he trusts the sea that has gifted him sight.

What he knows?

He’s free.

I write poetry, mostly. I would love to give a deep, philosophical reason why, but I’ll try the truth. Poetry is quick. I haven’t yet been patient enough to wait more than an hour, at most, to reach a conclusion I’m satisfied with. Maybe that will change with age and deepening wisdom. Maybe not—which ties into another reason I write poetry. There are no rules. It’s completely open to interpretation. It’s fluid. More than anything, it’s so unbelievably beautiful. Words arranged like a melody, abstract or concrete, light or heavy, wrung out from the soul—that’s the art that calls to me.

What’s Your Muse?

When I was very young, my muses were love and joy. In my teenage years, angst and pain. As an adult, I would say, a combination of the two—depending on the day and circumstance. If I’m listening to Paul Simon or the Grateful Dead, there’s a good chance I’ll feel the urge to get something out, but that spark of inspiration is usually unexpected. The words kind of just come to me. Like a trail of crumbs, they lead me to a truth I’m seeking. If I’m smart enough, I get a paper and pen. Speaking of—that combination could be my greatest muse.

What’s Next?

Since it’s winter and that “spark” has kind of cooled, I’ll take this as an opportunity to envision what’s next. I plan to organize a reading in the near future. Maria Luisa very graciously hosted a poetry reading featuring a few fellow writers and me this past summer.

I’m hoping to use her beautiful space again for another amazing spoken-word gathering. I also feel more and more like the book I haven’t yet had the patience to write is on the horizon.

I’m a mother of three, and motherhood has been such a metamorphosis, on so many levels. It’s a story I have to tell—however long it takes. I’ll just have to be virtuous and exercise patience.

To read more of Jayme’s work visit The Divine Write.


ML by Maria Luisa

Local Arts Index is sponsored by Maria Luisa, 77 South Broadway and ML by Maria Luisa, 75 South Broadway, Nyack, NY

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