Department: English School: College of Arts and Sciences Campus: Manhattan
Member of NYIT Since: 2009
A manner of speech, a witty remark, the flash of happiness or anger betrayed by a person's eyes – these are the human details mined by poet Terese Coe who counts Lord Byron, W.B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf, and John Lennon among her artistic mentors.
"Inspiration may be found anywhere, whether from concepts, dreams, dialog, the arts, urban and rural life, travel, friends, strangers, family, death, one's own intellectual wanderings, or the media," Coe says. "Most important is to recognize it, whether it reveals itself as an infinitesimal glimmer or something more substantial."
Coe is working on her second book of poems and is also preparing a manuscript of poetry translations. She routinely publishes original poems and translations from German and French in leading publications in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland, and on websites and e-zines such as The HyperTexts, Lilt, and Folly. Her poem, "Houston and Sixth," appeared in the Aug. 22 Metropolitan Diary section of the New York Times.
Her recent translations include new lyrics from German to English for two songs from Brecht-Weill's 1928 Threepenny Opera, "Mackie Messer" (also known as "Mack the Knife," later made popular by Frank Sinatra) and "Pirate Jenny" (covered as a pop song by Nina Simone in 1964). Coe's lyrics are closer to the darker, cynical themes conveyed in the original German texts than in the pop songs – offering send-ups of corruption, murder, and mayhem.
"Concepts that interest me currently often have something to do with metaphysics … the qualities of the universal, the existential, and the spiritual," says Coe, whose observations form the verses of her first book of poems, The Everyday Uncommon.
She also guides her students to translating their own observations into creative work.
"Some of the pleasures of recent years include the progress my students have made in their writing, the original and astute ideas they communicate, and the fact that NYIT's classroom diversity has actually tended to help cultivate our students' intellectual development," Coe says. "This is what must give us hope for the future of the world."
Mark your calendar … Terese Coe will give a reading at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 at 6 p.m.