About Hudson Cooke’s Winning Piece Andrea Cohen Said:
This is for you. This is not for you. The two declarations in Hudson Cooke’s poem flutter, stutter, and crisscross down the page––an insistent contradiction that feels like starlings murmuring across a sky.
I keep going back to look at “This Is/Not For You.” Looking: it’s what we do with visual art, and this feels like that––a construction whose material is language. The elegant sweep of these lines, their overlapping and diverging, the conflicting meaning, and the shifting legibility with layering and repetition all invite the eye and mind in. What does belong to us? What is for the self and what for the other in the realm of making and beyond? Are both statements simultaneously true?
I’m reminded of one of Antonio Porchia’s gems: I know what I have given you. I do not know what you have received.
That Cooke, along with writing, is both a sculptor and student of philosophy, is no surprise. “This Is/Not for You” feels three dimensional, as if every line had been hammered out. In fact, the lines were rubber-stamped, with two stamps, with more or less ink. And the stamping out of the same phrase on top of itself, instead of making its case stronger, renders the text impossible to read.
I could go on and on about why I love Cooke’s poem (and yes, I keep wanting to call it a piece)––the economy of words, the ambiguity, the organic feel of its design. That’s the beauty of work that inspires.
Hudson Cooke is a writer and sculptor living and working in Brooklyn, New York, where he is originally from. He graduated from Princeton University in 2019 with a degree in philosophy. His writing has appeared online in Dovetail Magazine and he currently works in fabrication.