Yale Working Group in Contemporary Poetry

Ben Lerner: Mean Free Path

Posted in Uncategorized by beineckepoetry on September 8, 2011

On Friday September 16th from 3-5 in rm 116 of the Whitney Humanities Center, we will have our first session of the Yale Contemporary Poetics Group for the 2011-2012 academic year.  The focus of this discussion will be Mean Free Path, Ben Lerner’s third (and most recent book of poems). Lerner will give a reading on 9/29th and then join us on 9/30 to discuss his work (details for these and other WGCP events: https://wgcp.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/fall-2011-schedule/).   Here is the bio from his publisher:

Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path. Lerner has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, and the recipient of a 2010-2011 Howard Foundation Fellowship. In 2011 he became the first American to win the Preis der Stadt Münster für Internationale Poesie. He teaches in the writing program at Brooklyn College.

His newest book is Leaving the Atocha Station, a novel that incorporates meditations on poetics and art as part of its structure. You can read more about it here: http://www.amazon.com/Leaving-Atocha-Station-Ben-Lerner/dp/1566892740

But since we focus on poetry, we’ll discuss the recent poetry collection, Mean Free Path. David Gorin has a terrific, thoughtful review of the book here:  http://jacketmagazine.com/40/r-lerner-rb-gorin.shtml ; and this goes very nicely with an interview by Aaron Kunin with Lerner available here: http://jacketmagazine.com/40/lerner-kunin.shtml. Karla Kelsey offers a very smart reading of Mean Free Path: http://www.constantcritic.com/karla_kelsey/mean-free-path/. And here is another useful review: http://criticalflame.org/verse/0910_pritchard.htm

A response to some earlier work of Lerner’s by Sarah Stone (under her nom du plume) is available here: http://jacketmagazine.com/37/stone-freeman-re-lerner.shtml.


The Working Group in Contemporary Poetry and Poetics meets every other Friday at 3.00 PM in room 116 at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University to discuss problems and issues of contemporary poetry within international alternative and /or avant-garde traditions of lyric poetry. All are welcome to attend.