A poet with six years' experience in biomedical research, Jack Cooper writes on a breadth of topics, but has a soft spot for science, science fiction,
local history, and the Saints.
He won The Eric Gregory Award in 2022 for 'Break the Nose of Every Beautiful Thing', which is available to order from Doomsday Press.
He is keen to use poetry and prose for science communication. Jack recently wrote The Poetry Society's educational resource 'We Are Cellular', which uses his poetry to explore cell biology and metaphor.
He proposed, developed, and delivered 12 hours of space-themed poetry workshops for the Science Museum and Imperial College London, with attendees writing more than 700 poems.
Jack has also delivered workshops and other poetic projects for the BBC, V&A Museum, Queercircle, and Oxford City Council, amongst others.
He is always open for creative collaborations, having previously worked with classical musicians, graphic designers, and other poets.
Jack's poetry has been featured by BBC Radio 4,
Magma, Ambit, Popshot, and Young Poets Network.
Jack lives in London.
Photo credit: Olivia Da Costa
Break the Nose
of Every Beautiful Thing
Curiosity drives Jack Cooper’s debut pamphlet. Drawing from his experience in biomedical research, Cooper finds severe beauty at a cellular level. A maggot is ‘a white wave without water’; mould in a student flat is ‘a firework display exploding in slow motion’. The joy of discovery is a common thread that ties queer desire and dissection to Gilgamesh and genetically-engineered squids. Just as an egg becomes a fly and a boy becomes a man, we witness a metamorphosis of the scientific to the abstract. In these poems, a body is never finished.
Break the Nose of Every Beautiful Thing won an Eric Gregory Award in 2022.
"The words are elegant and precise; Break the Nose of Every Beautiful Thing is as joyful in its imagery as it is thought-provoking in its abstractions. Cooper takes us on a voyage of life and love, leaving us contemplating our own journeys of self-discovery."
- Dr Helen Sharman, Britain's first astronaut
"These are poems of learning, about both the self and the world around us, aglow with the bioluminescence of curiosity. Cooper's words have 'bloomed sleek and excessive / as an orchid's corolla'' on the page and in my mind, a heady scent that will tint the way I look at even the most everyday things - from Blu Tack to hoverflies - for a long time to come."
- Ellora Sutton, author of Antonyms for Burial
"It can be said that the power of poetry can be in its clashing of two unlike things and finding ways to connect the likenesses between them. In the case of Jack Cooper's Break the Nose of Every Beautiful Thing, this idea of poetry is constantly put to the test."
- Roger Robinson, author of A Portable Paradise
We practise anatomy
in the sweat of your single bed,
wanting to know every part of a person.
Ulna, patella, phalanges,
frenulum, philtrum, lunula;
language so sharp I can press it in you like a pin.
Here - this here
is a place I can love.
published in Ambit
Break the Nose of Every Beautiful Thing (Doomsday Press)
Jack's individual poems have been featured in the following magazines, anthologies, and platforms.
BBC Radio 4 (The Language Exchange), BBC Hereford & Worcester,
BBC CWR, Young Poets Network, Magma, Ambit, fourteen poems, Propel, Popshot, Under the Radar, Acumen, Poetry Birmingham, Stand, Interpreter's House, The Adriatic, Re·creation, Hippocrates Awards 2021 Anthology, Doth Drip Make the Man, The Oxford Magazine, Ode to Code: Bletchley Park, Places of Poetry: Mapping the Nation in Verse, The Verve Anthology of Diversity Poems, Queer Grief Zine, Bright Brains, Spirit of Fire and Dust, Alternative Truths, Hour of Writes, Life Plus 2 Metres, Forward Poetry: Mind Matters 2, Forward Poetry: Darkness Falls, Right Hand Pointing, Salon of the Refused, Marsden the Poetry Village Anthology 2019, Human Rights: Poems from the Positive Images Peace Festival Poetry Competition 2019, Chatterbox, Unhomely, Poetry Pea podcast, Hugh’s News, Poetry Kit, Fragmented Voices, HCE Magazine, Geopoetry 2020, époque press e-zine, bluebee magazine, Seen Zine #2, The ISIS, ASH, Cobalt, Kamena, Phenotype, The Swan, Cherwell, The Oxford Student, Seven Voices, notes, Blueprint zine, ECHT anthology, Two Play zine, Pharos, Are You Lost Yet
Recipient, Eric Gregory Award 2022
Official Selection, Ó Bhéal Poetry Film Competition 2022
Longlisted, National Poetry Competition 2017
Inaugural winner of the Middleton-Miller Award for most Promising Young Writer.
1st Place, Shout Out for the Covered Market competition (18-24 category).
1st Place, Young Poets Network White Space Challenge.
Joint 2nd Place, Hippocrates Prize 2021 Open Category.
2nd Place, Young Poets Network 10th Anniversary Challenge.
3rd Place, Pre-Raphaelite Society Competition 2020/21.
3rd Place, streetcake experimental poetry prize 2020 (18-23 category).
Commended, Verve Poetry Festival Competition 2019.
Proud to have worked with
Science Museum and
Imperial College London
Jack conceptualised and organised 12 hours of poetry workshops for the Great Exhibition Road Festival, creating all resources and delivering them alongside volunteer scientists and poets. In total, ~700 poems were written by attendees.
The V&A Museum
Jack conceptualised and delivered 3 hours of poetry workshops to an audience of young families and sculpture enthusiasts, guiding them through various activities that used the V&A's sculpture collection and the works of Edmonia Lewis as inspiration.
The Poetry Society
Brights Brain, the British Neuroscience Association newsletter
Jack was interviewed for this I, Science article
Interview with Czech Centre London at the Science Museum
'Hommage to Miroslav Holub' celebrated the legacy
of the Czech poet and immunologist
Positive Poetry Party
A Society of Authors' event to celebrate the 2022 Eric Gregory and Cholmondeley Award winners, performing from 28:34
BBC Radio 4, The Language Exchange
Two clips discussing 'Micrographia, 1665'
The Covered Market Promotional Video, Oxford City Council
featuring extracts from 'Homecoming'
Interview with Stemettes
A social enterprise that encourages girls to pursue careers in STEM
Edinburgh Geological Society
performing from 10:08
fourteen poems interview
featuring 'Desire path' and 'Apoptosis'
Versopolis Festival of Hope, Young Poets Network
performing from 13:00
The Pre-Raphaelite Society
performing from 22:33'
The Covered Market Competition
'Strata' in collaboration with Alexander Jones
Official Selection, Ó Bhéal Poetry Film Competition 2022
Jack's debut pamphlet, Break the Nose of Every Beautiful Thing (Doomsday Press) is available to order now.
'Science and Sensibility' transdisciplinary conference, online
Jack is a keynote speaker, presenting on his practice of using poetry in science engagement, with accompanying performances.
Jack is particularly interested in hearing from other artists who want to collaborate.