David Cope


2782 Dixie Ave. S. W.
Grandville, MI 49418-1120

Author's Bio

David Cope:  Born 1948, Detroit, Mi. Education: BA University of Michigan, MA+30 Western Michigan University. Married 51 years, 3 grown children. Taught Shakespeare, Drama, Creative Writing, Multicultural Literature, Women’s Studies, etc. at Grand Rapids Community College for 22 years; school custodian 18 years before that. Kent County Dyer Ives Poetry Competition, first place adult category winner, 1971, 1972. Pushcart Prize winner, 1977. Distinguished Alumni award, GRCC 1984. Seven books and two chapbooks published, winner of award in literature from American Academy/Institute of Arts and Letters, 1988. Editor and publisher, Big Scream magazine, 1974-2021. Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Mi. 2011-2014; editor of three anthologies: Nada Poems (Nada, 1988), Sunflowers & Locomotives: Songs for Allen (elegies for Allen Ginsberg, Nada, 1998), and Song of the Owashtanong: Grand Rapids Poetry in the 21st Century (Ridgeway, 2013). In 2021, David published The Correspondence of David Cope and Allen Ginsberg (1976-1996) with Giant Steps Press. 2017-2018 publications include The Train: “Howl” in Chicago (chapbook, Multifarious Press, 2017), and The Invisible Keys: New and Selected Poems 1975-2017 (Ghost Pony Press, 2018). David’s work was discussed and appeared in Chinese translation by Zhang Ziqing in his monumental 3 volume study, A History of 20th Century American Poetry  (2019. ISBN:  978-7-310-05606-4). His work has been extensively translated in Chinese journals, ranging from The Journal of Jianghan University (Wuhan, 2015), Poetry Monthly (Beijing), Houston Garden of Verses (2018), and most recently in Poetry Monthly (2020).  Cope was the only American poet conferee at the Suining International Poetry Week and Chen Zi’ang Poetry Awards in Sichuan, China (March, 2019). His work from that journey appears in A Bridge Across the Pacific (A Jabber Publication, 2020).  His “The Dharma at Last” appeared in Poetry in Michigan/Michigan in Poetry (New Issues, 2013) and “River Rouge” appears in RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music, ed. Jim Daniels and M. L. Liebler (Michigan State University Press, 2020). The David Cope Papers (1972-2021) are maintained at the University of Michigan Special Collections Library, and his webpage, The Dave Cope Sampler, is online at the Museum of American Poetics.

Publications & Prizes

The Invisible Keys New and Selected Poems (Ghost Pony Press, 2018)
The Great Falls An Anthology of Poems about Paterson, New Jersey (Paterson Poetry Center, 2014)
Poetry in Michigan / Michigan in Poetry (New Issues Press, 2013)
Song of the Owashtanong: Grand Rapids Poetry in the 21st Century (Ridgeway Press, 2013)
Paterson Literary Review (Paterson Poetry Center, 2011)
Long Shot 27 Beat Bush Issue (Long Shot, 2004)
Van Gogh's Ear: Poetry for the New Millennium (French Connection Press, 2003)
Visiting Walt poems inspired by the life & work of Walt Whitman (University of Iowa Press, 2003)
Turn the Wheel (Humana Press, 2003)
Silences for Love (Humana Press, 1997)
Coming Home (Humana Press, 1993)
Fragments from the Stars (Humana Press, 1990)
On the Bridge (Humana Press, 1986)
Quiet Lives (Humana Press, 1983)
City Lights Journal Number 4 (City Lights, 1978)
New Directions 37 (New Directions, 1978)
The Pushcart Prize II: Best of the Small Presses (Avon Books, 1977)
Masks of Six Decades (Nada Press, 2010)
Heaven Bone
Lame Duck
Napalm Health Spa Report
Prizes won: 

2011-2014 Grand Rapids Poet Laureate. 1988 literature award, American Academy/Institute of Arts & Letters. 1977 Pushcart Prize II (1977), Grand Rapids Poet Laureate 2011-2014.

Personal Favorites

Favorite authors: 
Sappho, the Song of Songs, Dante, Shakespeare, Jonson, Blake, Whitman, Dickinson, H. D., William Carlos Williams, Charles Reznikoff, George Oppen, Carl Rakosi, Gertrude Stein, Robert Hayden, Denise Levertov, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Diane di Prima, many others
What I'm reading now: 
Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston, In Our Beautiful Bones by Zilka Joseph, The Oxford Handbook of Dante by Manuele Gragnolati et al, Collected Prose by Robert Duncan, In the Lateness of the World by Carolyn Forche, Sanctuary by Anne Waldman

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
European American
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Detroit, MI
Raised in: 
Grand Rapids, MI
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Last update: Nov 01, 2021