In the 1998 Hal Hartley movie Henry Fool a perverted garbageman writes a poem that becomes the "best selling poem of all time," eventually earning him the Nobel Prize. Ben Lerner is not a garbageman, but he holds a degree in Political Theory from Brown University, which is close enough to the script that he ought to be in line for recognition by the Swedish Academy. Lichtenberg is a sonnet sequence chloroformed by the lies and swindles of the English language circa 2004. I adore this book. I adorate it.
Check out some of its lines:
What am I the antecedent of?
When I shave I feel like a Russian.
When I drink I'm the last Jew in Kansas.
I sit in my hammock and whittle my rebus.
I feel disease spread through me like a theaory.
I take a sip from Death's black daiquiri.
O slender spadix projecting from a narrow spathe,
you are thinner than spaghetti but not as thin as vermicelli.