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Mean Free Path Paperback – March 1, 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 12 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Lerner is both a favorite among young avant-garde poets and a recipient of more traditional honors—his previous book was a finalist for the National Book Award. In his third collection, which is composed of two alternating sequences, he continues and deepens his exploration of how contemporary mass culture taints language, testing the border where words transition from expressing real feeling to being so overused they mean almost nothing. The nine-line stanzas of Mean Free Path utilize collage, found language, humor, and snippets of what seem like autobiography to question how much a poem can really say. I'm sorry, sorrier/ Than I can say on such a tiny phone. Stunningly prescient insights (In total war, the front is continuous) alternate with humorous asides and haunting admissions of the limits of interpersonal connection, noting the sudden suspicion the teeth/ In your mouth are not your own, let/ Alone the words. The page-long Doppler Elegies utilizes many of the same techniques in an attempt to construct a fragmentary love poem to Ari. Promising sentences are cut off at the line break, only to resume in the midst of another, entirely different thought, often creating pertinent juxtapositions, as in a poem that laments The life we've chosen/ from a drop-down menu. Lerner keeps refining his techniques and remains a younger poet whose work deserves attention. (May)
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Review

"Angle of Yaw is a stunner.... I have spent a good week, a very good week, re-reading and mining this remarkable volume, but I...don't expect to exhaust its riches."--Beloit Poetry Journal "This collection places Lerner among the most promising young poets now writing."--Publishers Weekly "The languages of critical theory and television collide, often with titillating and telling results.... Lerner spring-loads one [poem] after another in order to deliver his splendidly calibrated punch.... sharp, ambitious and impressive."--Boston Review

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Copper Canyon Press; 1st edition (March 1, 2010)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 96 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1556593147
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1556593147
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7 x 0.25 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    5.0 out of 5 stars 12 ratings

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Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry (The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path), three novels (Leaving the Atocha Station, 10:04, and The Topeka School) and a work of criticism (The Hatred of Poetry). His collaborations with artists include Blossom (with Thomas Demand), The Polish Rider (with Anna Ostoya), and The Snows of Venice (with Alexander Kluge). Lerner has been a a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has received fellowships from the Fulbright, Guggenheim, and MacArthur Foundations. In 2011 he won the &quot;Preis der Stadt M&uuml;nster f&uuml;r internationale Poesie&quot;, making him the first American to receive this honor. Lerner teaches at Brooklyn College, where he was named a Distinguished Professor of English in 2016.

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