Forty Words for Fear
"This is sonic moonshine."

Wyn Cooper has published four books of poems: The Country of Here Below (Ahsahta Press, 1987), The Way Back (White Pine Press, 2000), Postcards from the Interior, (BOA Editions, 2005), and Chaos is the New Calm (BOA Editions, 2010). His fifth book, Mars Poetica, will be published in 2018. His poems, stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Slate, Crazyhorse, Agni, The Southern Review, and more than 100 other magazines. His poems are included in 25 anthologies of contemporary poetry, including Poetry: An Introduction (Sixth Edition), The Mercury Reader, Outsiders, and Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms.

In 1993, “Fun,” a poem from his first book, was turned into Sheryl Crow’s Grammy-winning song “All I Wanna Do.” He has also cowritten songs with David Broza, David Baerwald, and Jody Redhage. In 2003, Gaff Music released Forty Words for Fear, a CD of songs based on poems and lyrics by Cooper, set to music and sung by the novelist Madison Smartt Bell. It has been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition and World Café, and has been written about in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, and elsewhere. Songs from the CD have been featured on five television shows and in one film. The second CD by Bell and Cooper, Postcards Out of the Blue, is based in part on Cooper's postcard poems.

Wyn has taught at the University of Utah, Bennington College, Marlboro College, and at The Frost Place. He is a former editor of Quarterly West, and the recipient of a fellowship from the Ucross Foundation. He served as a member of the first working group at The Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute, a think tank founded by The Poetry Foundation. He helps run the Nantucket Book Festival, and serves on the board of Slope Editions. He lives in Vermont and Massachusetts.

Wyn works as an editor for both aspiring and established authors. He specializes in editing poetry manuscripts, but also works with writers of fiction, non-fiction, and memoir, and offers advice on how and where to publish. Thirty-six books he edited from 2012-17 were accepted for publication, and seven won major awards. Go to the editing page for more information.

Quick Links

Find Authors


e.g. Fiction, History, Magazine Articles, etc. goes here
"There is a staccato quality to Wyn Cooper’s poetry that I admire, as if the words have been pried out of him. The poems’ brevity and their short phrases become telegraphic; they give his language a sense of urgency. But nothing is hurried. The poems move forward thoughtfully and gracefully, as they bear witness to the world’s fragility and to Mr. Cooper’s own." --Stephen Dobyns
"Wyn Cooper explores an overlooked territory that lies between the crafty irony of Frank O'Hara and the more unalloyed sentiments of contemporary popular culture." --T.R. Hummer
“Wyn Cooper’s superb postcard poems, deft and exemplary, say just enough, and never too much.”
--Jane Hirshfield
“Wyn Cooper’s poems are tight and pithy and fun.”
--James Tate
Wyn Cooper’s first book, which includes the poem that was made into Sheryl Crow’s song, “All I Wanna Do.”