notes on 'angle of yaw' by ben lerner

‘I am wearing a Mikhail Gorbachev Halloween mask.’


most of the poems in angle of yaw are small prose poems with a title (?) running into the paragraph (example poems, example poem, example poem)

the other poems in the book vary depending on the section, but the forms are usually longer. the middle section, ‘didactic elegy,’ felt like an essay in verse kind of like charles bernstein’s “artifice of absorption

the content in the poems changes without a lot of transition, which allows for a lot of possible readings based on what the reader connects with what

A highly accurate weapon housed in a silo.
I can’t stop crying.

the content of the poems often approaches the politics of representation, i think, the effect of images on how people understand themselves and the structures they live in. the middle section, ‘didactic elegy’ most directly addressed this

Refusing to assign meaning to an event is to interpret it lovingly

some of the poems remind me of ron silliman’s chinese notebook in how they extend theoretical ideas about literature, maybe post-structuralist ideas, to discussing things like how the color of a pen affects what can be written with it

I believe there is a question in the back. Yes, thank you. Do you own Hitler’s upper teeth? If you do own Hitler’s upper teeth, and it seems that you do, would you be able to resist the temptation to try them on? If you’re wearing Hitler’s upper teeth right now, and it seems that you are, how does that effect the validity of your answer?

a lot of the poems seemed vaguely critical/satirical of mainstream u.s. culture, war, politicians, maybe popular sports

We are pleased to offer a lamp that turns on and off when you clap

in an interview in 2005, ben lerner was asked about 'the role of the poet,' and he said 'I think that the poet, whether she likes it or not, always has to struggle against what Chuck D has called the "dumbassification" of American culture, against the deadening of intellects upon which our empire depends.' i feel like this shows in angle of yaw, that ben lerner is struggling against this

the tone of the poems felt kind of intellectual but also at times clever and/or funny. i wrote down a lot of lines that i thought were funny

It was when I tried to eat a straw through a straw that I learned my first important lesson about form

/

As an artist I’m interested in filling things with blood, especially clocks, but as a mom I demand the illusion of continuous motion

this book was out on copper canyon press in 2006; it is 125 pages


more on ben lerner here, here, and here

buy angle of yaw here, here, or here