Monday, May 03, 2010

The Somerville News: Poet Ben Mazer Declared Poet Laureate of Somerville

*** This will appear in the Lyrical Somerville this Wed. May 5, 2010:

Lyrical Somerville edited by Doug Holder

You might have seen Mazer around. He is a man somewhere in his 40s with an enviable crop of curly hair, has an intense stare, and seems to be always working on something on his laptop. "Must be a writer you think." You got that straight...he is. Mazer has been a fixture on the literary scene for awhile and a denizen of the Diesel Cafe in Davis Square.

Now since the city has never acted on my requests for a Poet Laureate program, I, Doug Holder have declared Ben Mazer as the Poet Laureate of Davis Square. And Mazer has accepted the honor. His budget will be zero, and his office will be his usual chair in the Diesel. But we have made history...the first Poet Laureate in Somerville.

Here is Dr. Mazer's bio:

A denizen of the Cambridge area all my life, I lived in Davis Square from February 2004 through January 2010, six years during which I completed a doctoral dissertation for the Editorial Institute at Boston University, edited Selected Poems of Frederick Goddard Tuckerman (Harvard University Press, 2010) and Everything Preserved: Poems 1955-2005 by Landis Everson (Graywolf Press, 2006, first winner of the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Foundation), and wrote two full length collections of poetry, both of which have just been published, Poems (The Pen & Anvil Press) and January 2008 (Dark Sky Books). When in Davis, I am always to be found at the Diesel, where I have heard myself referred to by other locals as the unofficial poet laureate of Davis Square.

Before Us

i. m. Frank Parker

Lowell winning the Pulitzer in 1947...

Pushing ecstatic through the darkening crowd...

the newspapers not yet lifted, fish and corn

wrapped by the flashing grocer, millennial...

weighed in two scales by his hurt, flashing eyes...

a seething margin, bustling with friends

and lovers, trinket-shaking sky, to die...

how can they tell us what they didn't know?

Logical types the century pressed white...

rounding the corner of each first familiar

tombstone or commemorative stone

cut in the image of the training sailor...

homecoming, whether on the edge of home.

Writing is fighting in the Christ-whale's eyes.

Orient Heights

Orient heights the sole star blessed

motion against motion movement against movement

to the one house buried in the rest

no one sees me but an old man

I've come to use drunk in his playroom

sole star blessed and a blank page

divided between the world as we know it

the world as we saw it and a blank page

and all the rest Orient heights

1 comment:

  1. Doug,

    This is hilarious! Can you elect me Poet Laureate of the T? I've written most of my best stuff on the Green Line.