Mean Free Path
Mean Free Path
Ben Lerner

“Lerner [is] among the most promising young poets now writing.”—Publishers Weekly

“Sharp, ambitious, and impressive.” —Boston Review

National Book Award finalist Ben Lerner turns to science once again for his guiding metaphor. “Mean free path” is the average distance a particle travels before colliding with another particle. The poems in Lerner’s third collection are full of layered collisions—repetitions, fragmentations, stutters, re-combinations—that track how language threatens to break up or change course under the emotional pressures of the utterance. And then there’s the larger collision of love, and while Lerner questions whether love poems are even possible, he composes a gorgeous, symphonic, and complicated one.

You startled me. I thought you were sleeping
In the traditional sense. I like looking
At anything under glass, especially
You called me. Like overheard
Dreams. I’m writing this one as a woman
Comfortable with failure. I promise I will never
But the predicate withered. If you are
Uncomfortable seeing this as portraiture
Close your eyes. No,
you startled

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 University, co-founded No: a journal of the arts, and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.

Title Mean Free Path
Author Ben Lerner
Publisher Copper Canyon Press
Title First Published 01 March 2010
Format Paperback
Nb of pages 96 p.
ISBN-10 1556593147
ISBN-13 9781556593147
Publication Date 01 March 2010
Main content page count 96
Weight 16 oz.
List Price $16.00

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