Synopses & Reviews
Ben Miro's Ghost Machine was chosen by Michael Burkard as the winning manuscript in the 2009 Caketrain Chapbook Competition. At first blush, the bluntly unadorned veneer of Mirov's poems suggests a mode of confessional domestic realism, the "I"/"Eye" who simply "can't let go of the things I write." Indeed, our ghost -- however transitory, fugitive, adrift on a river of sulk -- remains fascinated with, even enamored of, the human condition. But as these mantric poems build upon each other, layering realities sentence by sentence, the machine unravels its exotic tendrils, teasing the reader toward unprecedented perspectives on love, loss, the connective urge and the phantom desires that twist like smoke in the lungs of the living.
"The character, Ghost Machine, in Ben Mirov's extraordinary poems creeps me out. It makes me feel uncomfortable, frustrated, and, at times, flat-out angry. I want to tell it to do something and be done with it. 'Get a life,' I say. But it never leaves me alone. Creepy's good. Discomfort and anger are good. Feeling anything intensely in this life is good, from both sides of the grave." Ralph Angel, author of Exceptions and Melancholies
"The arrival of character into poetry's stream of complexities, in this case, plenty complexity recycled for sure, is a cause for celebration when its arrival brings with it ideas, feelings, experiences and challenges filled with life-fortifying, exponentially enriching currents. Mirov's poems sometimes seem as though they are composed with ghosts in mind, jilted zombies who eat and drink just like we do, who deadpan and mix explosive combinations to surprise and maybe, maybe let us visit what we'd miss if we weren't invited into Mirov's plan: I plan to be another language in the body of a deer." Dara Wier, author of Remnants of Hannah
"Ben Mirov is the champion of the sentence. Every sentence is perfectly carved from a cold metal machine in the BART tunnels of Oakland that loops reality. They erase what they compress. I read this book and then puke in the shower. I read this book and then bleed on the sheets. My earlobes are wet. My pants are too small. These poems are about needing to touch something that you know your hand will go through. Mirov's poems are sick and crushing. This book marks the end of fucking around." Zachary Schomburg, author of Scary, No Scar