Posts Tagged: Ben Lerner
What does it mean to be carried away? To be captured, carried off, liberated? To lose control of oneself? Lerner doesn’t show concern for questions like these. More generally, The Hatred of Poetry takes little interest in the rarities of technique across a poet’s body of work and avoids questions about his or her sense of history.
It just means that we have a desire for our language to be able to perform in a different way than it performs, and we have a desire for a reconciliation between the individual and the social that poetry can’t fulfill, but can help made felt.
Poetry is defined by a failure to live up to the hype it generates, promising divine transcendence through a medium that is essentially human. This is the paradox Ben Lerner articulates in his dissertation on The Hatred of Poetry. At The New Republic, Ken Chen doesn’t buy it:
You get the sense Lerner’s intellectualized peevishness about poetry is simply an elaborate defense, one that distances an author from the shame, discomfort, and vulnerability that comes from experiencing one’s own emotions.
Cat Fitzpatrick, Merritt Kopas, Allison Parrish, Thel Seraphim, Charles Theonia, and Paco Salas Pérez celebrate an evening of Transgender Poetry and also a new location for Spoonbill & Sugartown....more
Saturday 4/16: Stefanie Lipsey, Ann Prodracky, and Melissa Thomas join the Oh, Bernice reading series. Astoria Bookshop, 7 p.m., free.
Jibade-Khalil Huffman and Gabriela Jauregui join the Segue Series. Zinc Bar, 4:30 p.m., $5.
Sunday 4/17: Greg Purcell, Ish Klein, and Karen Weiser read poetry....more
If you’re referring to a bomb as a daisy cutter it’s easier to distance yourself from the embodied reality of the consequence of a policy.
The Paris Review talks with Ben Lerner about his first book of poems, The Lichtenberg Figures: his first inspirations in Marjorie Welish and wine, the anxiety and self-doubt of the first book, and the violence of Topeka, Kansas....more
Like every other year, in 2015 we wrestled with the knowledge of our constructed selves. But rather than eschew personhood as a postmodernist might, we considered just who we’ve been inventing:
What do you write about when you no longer put stock in the idea—the narrative—that nature exists objectively and independently of our stories about it?
It doesn’t seem right to write a novel set in the contemporary that isn’t shot through with all this craziness.
For Electric Literature, John Freeman profiles Ben Lerner, MacArthur genius and author of books written by accident that revel in “privileged American self-involvement” and win both awards and the hearts of many....more
I think that’s avant-garde—the meeting of need and language.
Over at Lit Hub, contemporary poetic hero Ben Lerner sits down with contemporary poetic heroine Eileen Myles to talk about vernacular, supercilious labels, the trials and tribulations of a young poet after fame, and a mutual confusion over what a “folk poet” is....more
Maybe the best reading leads us to struggle with ourselves. Jennifer Audette writes about the messiness of learning to love the metafiction of Ben Lerner for the Fiction Writer’s Review:
But then again, why do I need the narrator to experience wonder and emotions the way I think he should, the way I want him to?
Here is what I mean by meta-fiction: all these books, stories, and bodies of work contain made-up books and bodies of work. Some are based on real books. Some are making fun of real books, a little bit, gently. Some are invented entirely.
Saturday 5/2: Independent Bookstore Day: Events are being held throughout the day at your neighborhood bookstore. The following stores are hosting special events:...more
Literature often depends on the strategic disappointment of expectation. Sometimes, the effect of that is humorous; at other times, it’s unnerving: I consider it crucial to the composition of a novel. Laughter is physical; it involves the body of the reader in the book in a way that other responses don’t.
Invoking his new play, Buzz, Benjamin Kunkel writes in the New Yorker about how “few imaginative writers have dealt with the present-day experience of global warming in a direct and concentrated way” and why this might be the case:
If climate change has, to date, proved hard to write about, that’s because it exists for most of us, to date, as something that afflicts different neighborhoods, distant cities, or future times.
When Tao Lin asked Ben Lerner about his new novel’s epigraph, Lerner touched on the merits of the parable:
I think the parable is a peculiar way of saying that redemption is immanent whether or not it’s imminent, that the world to come is in a sense always already here, if still unavailable.
(n.); artist’s studio or workshop; c. 1840, from the old French astelier (“carpenter’s workshop, woodpile”)
“Part of what I loved about poetry was how the distinction between fiction and nonfiction didn’t obtain,” [Lerner] says, “how the correspondence between text and world was less important than the intensities of the poem itself.”
From “With Storms Outside, Inner Conflicts Swirl”
How the old French word for a splinter of wood (astelle, likely from the Latin astula) evolved to eventually refer to an artist’s abode may be fodder only for the most archaic linguist....more
When the The New York Times asked for his background, Ben Lerner answered the best he could:
“Suburban-white-kid crime, Columbine High School sort of thing,” he said. “A violence of numbness and identitylessness.”
In the Parul Sehgal’s piece, the author of Leaving the Atocha Station also touches on parenthood, Joan of Arc, and his upcoming novel, “10:04”....more
“In the name of clarity, a lot of authors offer what strike me as basically pre-fabricated structures of feeling, leaving no room for the reader to participate in the construction of meaning.”
Ben Lerner, poet and author of Leaving the Atocha Station, touches on his different approaches to poetry and fiction, balancing clarity and complexity, and pareidolia in an interview with The New Yorker....more