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Lichtenberg Figuresby Ben Lerner
In this sonnet sequence, Lerner blends contemporary phrases — which portrays his youth and connectedness with popular culture — but also fuses a philosophical outlook in classic poetic form. He has dazzling wit, but also puts you in your place, shuts you up, and makes you keep reading. Lichtenberg Figures is a book that won't stay on your bookshelf long; it will more likely be on the nightstand, on the desk, bookmarked and underlined. You'll want to mimic and recreate Lerner — the sign of a great poet.
Synopses & Reviews
The Lichtenberg Figures, winner of the Hayden Carruth Award, is an unconventional sonnet sequence that interrogates the relationship between language and memory, violence and form. “Lichtenberg figures” are fern-like electrical patterns that can appear on (and quickly fade from) the bodies of people struck by lightning.
Throughout this playful and elegiac debut—with its flashes of autobiography, intellection, comedy, and critique—the vocabulary of academic theory collides with American slang and the idiom of the Old Testament meets the jargon of the Internet to display an eclectic sensibility.
Ben Lerner, the youngest poet ever published by Copper Canyon Press, is co-founder of No: a journal of the arts. He earned an MFA from Brown University and is currently a Fulbright scholar in Spain.
Winner of the Hayden Carruth Award uses "broken sonnets" to explore complex juxtapositions of contemporary culture.
About the Author
Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry and was named a finalist for the National Book Award for his second book, Angle of Yaw. He holds degrees from Brown Univeristy, co-founded No: a journal of the arts, and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.
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