#CopingWith is CCM’s interview series run by editor Joanna C. Valente
Cooper Wilhelm is the author of his debut book “Dumbheart/Stupidface” which was released November 13, 2017 from CCM. Of his book, Bijan Stephen said,“Good love stories aren’t interesting to read about. Thankfully, Dumbheart / Stupidface provides a wonderful reprieve; Wilhelm writes the brutal truths of what it means to love someone with a detached ferocity generally observed in nature, as when a tiger devours a deer. And it is as exciting to watch.”
Luckily, he talked to me about his favorite gif, meal, and apocalypse plans:
Describe your favorite meal.
Some kind of roasted or barbecued meat. I’m thinking of doing a double roast when I turn 30 where we’ll roast meats and then my friends will say mean things about me. Last year some friends slowroasted a porkshoulder in this small apartment. It was winter and the kitchen and the living room were one continuous swish blanketed richly in oven heat. We’d meant to cut the shoulder up and serve it on plates like civilized aristocrats but it never made it off the cutting board. A little shy picking and then there was frenzy. It was an iridescent goddamned joy.
What music do often you write to, if at all?
I like music a lot so I usually can’t write with it on. The best way for me to write is by doing it as a secret when I’m supposed to be doing something else.
What are three books that you’ve always identified with?
Robert Hass’s Sun Under Woods.
An anthology of haikus that Stephen Addiss edited.
And Liber Null made so much sense when I picked it up. It felt like skeins saying thoughts I’d had back to me.
Choose one painting that describes who you are. What is it?
It’s probably the painting Grace Linderholm (who is taking commissions by the bye) did for my book DUMBHEART/STUPIDFACE. It’s based on Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That play has felt talismanic to me for a long time and I love that moment when they discover Bottom has the head of an ass and say “Bless you, Bottom, you are translated!”
Choose a gif that encompasses mornings for you.
What do you imagine the apocalypse is like? How would you want to die?
The problem is that all the apocalypses are rolling in at once. Honestly it feels like what will happen is that the earth will just quit. No more food will grow, no more drinkable water will reveal itself. There will be a generation of suffering and then silence.
But that’s not how I want to go out. I’d prefer something sudden and preceded by maniacal laughter. Maybe crashing a zeppelin in a way that inconveniences people I hate.
If you could only watch three films for the rest of your life, what would they be?
I suspect Evil Dead 2 will never get old. Its strangeness has lingered for years and is so essential it feels like it will keep flashing in revelation like a prism spinning on a string. The Shape of Water gave me hope and I think that means I could watch it forever. Also Exiled feels like 3 movies tied together against their will and I love it.
How would you describe your social media persona/role?
I tend to tweet a lot about poetry and socialism and witchcraft but not in a way that really makes them go together. There’s a lot of overlap in those communities, but I get the sense people come for the poetry, tolerate the occultism, and bail because of the politics. Maybe if I were more discreet about things that aren’t poetry I’d have more of a following but I don’t want to be dishonest by omission.
What’s your favorite animal and why?
Pigs, easily. They’re astoundingly human in both good and bad ways. The only animal besides us that can be naked.
What do you carry with you at all times?
Right now it’s a little red notebook I’ve been keeping to mark coincidences and synchronicities and such since I started doing saintcraft. I’m a little self-conscious about it but I wanted to be serious and scientific about trying to communicate with deities and the dead.
Cooper B. Wilhelm is a poet, researcher, and occultist living in NYC. He is from Maine. He’s published stuff with people. Into the Dark is a radio show he did about witchcraft (all the episodes are still available as podcasts). PoetryAndStrangers is a thing he does where he writes poems on postcards and then mails them to strangers he looks up in phonebooks.
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (The Operating System, 2017), Xenos (Agape Editions, 2016) and the editor of A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017). Joanna received a MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College, and is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, a managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and CCM, as well as an instructor at Brooklyn Poets. Some of their writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Brooklyn Magazine, Prelude, Apogee, Spork, The Feminist Wire, BUST, and elsewhere.