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Angle of Yaw Kindle Edition
The man observes the action on the field with the tiny television he brought to the stadium. He is topless, painted gold, bewigged. His exaggerated foam index finger indicates the giant screen upon which his own image is now displayed, a model of fanaticism. He watches the image of his watching the image on his portable TV on his portable TV. He suddenly stands with arms upraised and initiates the wave that will consume him.
Haunted by our current war on terror,” much of the book was written while Lerner was living in Madrid (at the time of the Atocha bombings and their political aftermath), as the author steeped himself in the history of Franco and fascism. Regardless of when or where it was written, Angle of Yaw will further establish Ben Lerner as one of our most intriguing and least predictable poets.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B006G0CY98
- Publisher : Copper Canyon Press (October 1, 2006)
- Publication date : October 1, 2006
- Language : English
- File size : 364 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 144 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,146,960 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Pick up almost any recent "collection" of poems--from the college clique making the rounds, to what lately passes for meaningful or original coming out of the big tent readings--and you'll see what I mean. Sure, there are a lot of good poets who have carved out their niche and stayed fairly consistent from book to book. But it is stupendously rare nowadays for any poet to put out a collection that is really a collection, that is really more than a series of poems that sort of holds together. Instead, one runs across collection after collection, each with a few stand-out poems sprinkled among a lot of filler. It is as if the poet went into a recording studio with only a few hit songs knowing full well that to make an album meant fudging time (and honesty) with cover songs. The poets have either lost the knack or grown too lazy to challenge themselves, to say nothing of the reader. Remember her? That amazingly bright and quite particular reader in need of conversion, self-assurance, surprise? Mr. Lerner never lets her out of his sight.
Angle of Yaw lets us appreciate the beauty and the subtlty of profound and apolitical protest, with parts both comic and tragic, lighthearted and horrible. We are always amused. We re-read out of joy and surprise and deep reflection. We the readers are discovering something new and it comes as a relief, a huge surprise! Let me count the reasons why: it has structure (not just some poems that are related because they appear in the same book); it has density (not obscurity for obscurity's sake); and it illicits truths about how we live and who we are (not without troubling implications).
I'm not entirely sure what I can say about Angle of Yaw that has not already been said dozens of times over, and I believe that's the first time I've ever said anything of the sort about a book of poetry. Angle of Yaw has become a bona fide poetry-world sensation, appearing on any number of best-of-the-decade lists and inspiring outright awe in critics and readers alike. Given such a buildup, I went into it with my skeptical loins girded, but aside from one misstep, Angle of Yaw actually lives up to the hype.
Finding a piece of this book to quote is next to impossible, as I kept seeing quotable pieces. Page after page after page of them. Almost every bit of this book is well-done, so I ended up just opening to a random page:
"People with all manner of phobia, a fear of heights or crowds or marketplaces, public speaking or blood or prime numbers, have been known to overcome their panic by wearing glasses, not with corrective lenses, but with lenses of plain shatterproof plastic, which not only impose a mediate plane between them and the object of their fear, but apply a comforting pressure to the bridge of the nose. When you encounter a person seized by terror, softly squeeze this bony structure, and he will be instantaneously subdued. In an age of contact lenses and laser surgery, it is safe to assume that a person who persists in wearing glasses in undergoing treatment."
(--"Angle of Yaw")
All the hallmarks of what make so much of Lerner's stuff so good are there, the unexpected juxtapositions, the humor, the rhythm, the absurdity of it all. The book is divided into five sections, three longer poems ("longer" here meaning a few pages), with sections two and four being halves of "Angle of Yaw", a large collection of the short pieces of which you see an example above. (It is representative of the style of pieces to be found there, both in structure and in quality.) The first two "other" poems are also very good, with the book's sole misstep being the last, "Twenty-One Gun Salute for Ronald Reagan". Lerner is a political poet, but throughout the rest of the book he keeps it subtle and funny, not letting it get in the way of his considerable poetic talent; the Reagan poem, on the other hand, just falls flat, listless, overtaken by the weight of the message Lerner is so obviously straining to get across. But if you ignore that last piece, though, this is a fantastic book, one likely to make my 25 best reads of the year list. ****