Tuesday, May 04, 2010
The Pen & Anvil Press
Some of the poems in POEMS remind me of the l=a=n=g=u=a=g=e poet Charles Bernstein's work, which has transpired in the last thirty years. "Language poetry was more like a set of elective affinities shared among a group of poets…" Ben Mazer uses the best influences from free verse and experimental play, to give his poems the 'jump off the page' readers often long for:
"The closed world adumbrates the snow.
Midnight deciphers pillows at the window.
Though it was several months ago,
in dead of winter, nothing knows or shows
where the requested intimacy goes.
The silent isolated frames
of meditation have dispersed the names.
The couches crouch in feeble poses,
incognizant of roses."
This collection of poetry lands squarely on its feet, balanced like an Olympic athlete Mazer knows his craft and feels agile enough to do somersaults. In his poem, EVEN AS WE SPEAK, the words are capitalized for eleven pages, quick sentences catapulting across the pages. The reader sees the end results of what has been a long training, practicing with words so that words can say what they imply. Page after page we meet ourselves through those words, often questioning how we might relate, "The evening hour's to and fro, time's thick repercussions bloom (the hour of the small meeting)"
Each word in each poem conjures an emotion, an experience, an action. the poems wake us from our deep slumbering reality. Mazer bothers us with his intelligence. He expects an understanding from his audience:
"IT IS THE SEA'S HIGH POSTING OF NUMBERS OVER THE
CRITIQUED CONTEST OF THE IDENTITY, WHERE THE
SHADOW OF SHADOWS GATHERS. WHERE THE PINES
ARE EQUIVALENT TO ARRIVAL, OR WHAT IS TOLD IN
SUNLIGHT FALLS, WHERE IT IS SPOKEN, TO BE TOLD
AGAIN OR FOLD INTO MEMORY. GRETEL ON THE
DOORSTEP, THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE, THE OTHER
REALITY ENTERED BY MIRRORS. SHE ENTERED THE
ROOM. THE WORLD TURNS. NUMBERS ARE POSTED OVER
I take each summersault with him, every twist in mid air, every flip:
this is the subject of my poetry
Eliot is sympathetic
What is he to me?
POEMS is all and more. I am looking forward to meeting the first poet laureate of Somerville, nominated by Doug Holder, Ibbetson Street Press.
All those in favor. Congratulation Ben Mazer.
Ibbetson Street Press
Wilderness House Literary Review