1 may. 2005

I received Ben Lerner's The Lichtenberg Figures (Coppercanyon Press) several months ago. Since it arrived when I was being inundated with other books, I put it on my shelf and forgot about it. Now, opening it up at random, I find a poem dedicated to Ronald Johnson, whom I have also been reading. Not only that, but the guy (Ben) is really, really good. Witty and humorous, and with a serious sense of surprise, a shifty way of modulating tone. There's not a boring line in the book, that I can see. It's much better than the average book that crosses my desk. I wasn't expecting Copper Canyon to come up with something this hip and intelligent. (It's undoubtedly the C.D. Wright connection that explains this.) Another Kansas poet, Ben Lerner! (He's from Topeka.)

I almost didn't want to blog about this book because I felt some serious envy. Supressing my reaction wouldn't make my poetry any better, though. I liked the poem that began

"Your child lacks a credible god-term, a jargon of ultimacy.
He fails to distinguish between illusion (Schein) and beautiful illusion (schöner Schein).
He is inept and unattractive."

All the poems have 14 lines, I believe. None has a title, and there is no table of contents. I'm very sorry that I didn't start reading this book before. A free review copy, no less! I shouldn't undervalue what I get free of charge. I feel like an ingrate.

This is definitely a selection for the "Bemsha Swing Reading Club." They should put little stickers on the books: "As seen on Silliman's blog," "A Bemsha Swing Selection." "An Equanimity Book."

6 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

The LF is indeed a delightful book, more pure fun and jaw-dropping surface playfulness than any book from the past several years. Unfortunately, for all its sass and dazzle, it's also kiddie-pool deep. Smart kid shows promise, though.

Jonathan dijo...

First of all, I don't like anonymous posters. Second of all, I don't think you are correct. I think the book does have depth. It your reading of it that is superficial. Anyone who would use a phrase "kiddie-pool deep" and hide behind anonymity does not have my respect.

Anónimo dijo...

wow, you're a dick.

Anónimo dijo...

I, the first anonymous poster, did NOT leave this second, horrible post. This anonymous poster gives anonymous posting a bad name.

I understand and will abide by the rules of your blog, which include no anonymous posting.

...Although, I suppose I'm already violating that pledge by leaving this anonymous post. But, rest assured, this is my last anonymous post, and any anonymous posts hereafter, especially those containing swears or other disparaging comments, will not be the work of the original, one-and-only authentic first anonymous.



Jonathan dijo...

See, that's why I don't like anonymous comments, though anonymous #1 is wise to dissociate himself from the apocryphal "anonymous."

Charity dijo...

may I just add that Lerner's book is wonderful?

"In my culture, when a woman dies, we sleep on the floor.
We sleep with her sister. We put her cats to sleep.
We tear at our hair. We tear at the hair of others.
We pass the roseate urinary calculi. We dream ourselves hoarse."