By Michael Coffey


O Books
Original Language(s)
Additional Credits
Cover art by Rebecca Smith
Design by Guy Bennett
Edition, Year
First Edition, 2005
In Print

Michael Coffey’s CMYK is a sort of domino theory, or primary-color Braille, using word replacement for sounds—that is, his words are as if movable spaces, it being possible for these word-spaces like open, brilliant blanks or Guston blocks to be plugged in elsewhere in space. The text “adds to” reality.

Michael Coffey
Michael Coffey received his B.A. in English at the University of Notre Dame and his M.A. in Anglo-Irish Literature from Leeds University. Shortly after graduation he began a career in publishing, which ranged from working with small presses ... Read More

With apparent self-revelations that turn out to be quotations, and jigsaw-like verbal constructions that depict pathos almost despite themselves, Coffey finds “what’s in the brain that ink may character.”

Publisher’s Weekly


…CMYK proposes the seeming possiblity of a book as a temporary domicile: an enticing place to hang out and wander about within, with clues and/as memories popping up around to make you wonder if it might yet offer itself to you as a frequent stay.

— Nick Piombino, fait accompli


Praise for CMYK

Check out CMYK. It is odd in a strange way, and that’s something hard to come by these days. A very particularizing and kind collaboration with it all—a roving, roaming, & re-reading risk—multicolored “like” words. It says here: “we belong to the page or the wall.”

— Rod Smith

Michael Coffey’s CMYK collects numerous linguistic inventions. Coffey understands the digital nature of the world he inhabits, yet remembers such poets as Shakespeare, Hopkins, and Stevens, while embracing such contemporaries as Andrews, Silliman, and Mac Low. The delighted reader is taken on literal—and literary—travels deep inside this astonishing poet’s mind.

— Anne Tardos

In CMYK Michael Coffey orchestrates a keen conceptualism that celebrates a polypoetics of interceptions, détournes, contaminations, transpositions, cadgings, listenings, substitution passes and reveries. Benjamin would have embraced this work as the triumph of a flaneuristic sensibility, yet beyond its meanderings through determining procedures and their strange outcomes CMYK is a powerful, disturbing act upon all that is literature. Coffey releases heterogeneous laws on the literary that open up the dark side of language, its profoundly inhuman dimension felt as both obdurate distance and disturbing proximity. For CMYK is language absolved of its need to communicate anything other than its frightening remainder and potential. A linguistic world in which the intertextual and the programmatic commingle in paralogical yet over-determined neighborhoods, along streets or boulevards where the Mojave Blancheur is made to rule as much as spaghetti is from a mussel shell. Read it then ruminate on the vertiginous remainder Language was, is and can be.

— Steve McCaffrey

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