Ben Lerner

b. 1979
Ben LernerBeth Fladung B&W
Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, poet and editor Ben Lerner earned a BA in political science and an MFA in creative writing from Brown University, and was a Fulbright scholar in Madrid.
 
Lerner is the author of several full-length poetry collections, including Mean Free Path (2010) and Angle of Yaw (2006), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award. His sonnet sequence, The Lichtenberg Figures (2004), won the Hayden Carruth Award, was chosen by Library Journal as one of the year’s 12 best poetry books, and was a Lannan Literary Selection. His poetry has also been included in the anthologies Best American Poetry, New Voices (2008), and 12x12: Conversations in Poetry and Poetics (2009).
 
Ranging from sonnets to extended, collage-based prose poems, Lerner’s work often uses scientific structures to explore the relationship between language, form, and movement. Noting his use of “arresting lines that are comical, anxious and hauntingly true,” Boston Review critic Craig Morgan Teicher described Lerner’s aim in Angle of Yaw to “juxtapose discordant elements of noise such that their collective racket cancels each component out, leaving behind a language purged by negation—refreshed, defiant, and wholly self-aware.” In a 2004 interview with Kent Johnson for Jacket magazine, Lerner described that collection as focused on “the commercialization of public space and speech. I’m also interested in the ways that technologies of viewing—aerial photography in particular—replace the God-term with a camera that feeds our spectacular culture an image of itself.”
 
In 2002, Lerner co-founded, with Deb Klowden, No: a journal of the arts, and he has also served as the poetry editor for Critical Quarterly. Lerner has taught at the University of Pittsburgh and California College of the Arts.

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Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

LIFE SPAN 1979–

Ben Lerner

Biography

Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, poet and editor Ben Lerner earned a BA in political science and an MFA in creative writing from Brown University, and was a Fulbright scholar in Madrid.
 
Lerner is the author of several full-length poetry collections, including Mean Free Path (2010) and Angle of Yaw (2006), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award. His sonnet sequence, The . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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