The anionic diamido N-heterocyclic carbene 1 is used to prepare a series of linear as well as trigonal, heteroleptic CuI complexes with small molecular ligands such as pyridine derivatives or triphenylphosphine. A key role lies in the versatile precursor for these complexes, a moisture- and air-stable 1D coordination polymer [1·Cu]n composed of only the NHC ligand and CuI, such that the copper is linearly coordinated by the carbene carbon atom and one oxygen atom of the backbone of the carbene. This polymer can easily be cleaved into monomeric complexes by addition of the desired ligand to dispersions of the polymer in dichloromethane. In solution, the complexes are in equilibrium with this highly insoluble polymer and free ligand. Thus, analytical and spectroscopical experiments with the compounds are limited to their crystalline state, characterized by single crystal X-ray diffraction experiments. Some of the complexes exhibit visible luminescence in the solid state upon irradiation with ultraviolet light. The spectral features (emission wavelength, Stokes shift, width of the emission band, vibrational fine structure) significantly differ among the complexes. Quantum mechanical computations reveal a subtle interplay of several factors such as coordination number and charge transfer character of the emissive state.