From the celebrated author of The Topeka School, a collection of poetry that is dazzlingly intelligent, moving and speaks directly to our complex times. The Lights is a constellation of verse and prose, voice memos and vignettes, songs and silences, that brings the personal and the collective into startling relation. These are poems at once alive to the forces that shape human society and to the rhythms of the natural world, to the power of new technologies and the wonder of our timeless planet. Sometimes the scale is intimate and quiet and sometimes the poems are sweeping, Orphic experiments in the "collectivization of feeling": "I want everybody out there to sing along, even the stones." Written over a span of fifteen years, The Lights records the pleasures, risks, and absurdities of making art and family and meaning against a backdrop of interlocking, accelerating crises. And, even while alert to the darkness, it is the light in the book that remains, in dusk, in images from space, in old poems, in power cuts, in the flickering connections between people. From one of the most celebrated writers of his generation, the poems in this collection come to us as beacons, illuminating new possibilities of thought and feeling.
Ben Lerner's poems are remarkable for their graceful, trenchant exploration of aesthetics, politics, voice, address, music, and structure -- Maggie Nelson
At long last we have the deep pleasure of reading a new book of poems by Ben Lerner. The Lights continues his boundless innovative vocal range: the lyrical, the fictive, the confessional, and the apostrophe, are seamlessly braided in this exhilarating collection. The Lights is Lerner's most personal and important book to date -- Peter Gizzi
I look forward to Ben Lerner's poetry the way I used to anticipate a new record by my favourite band. He can be painfully funny and urgently serious in the same poem, self-excoriating and intellectually generous -- Luke Kennard
Ben Lerner's poems are brilliant. Again and again they decode and recode the daily mysteries. The questing intelligence and ironist's wink are underpinned by a real moral force -- Nick Laird
Steeped in a tradition stretching back to the origins of the poetic tradition in English, Lerner's speakers wander a perpetually twilit cityscape, contemplating the poets' complicity in the prosodies of political entropy, American empire, death-drive capitalism - these poems are haunting, gloaming, blue. -- Stephanie Sy-Quia
I was deeply moved by The Lights. Reading the poems felt like an encounter with an archive of a beloved, where fragments can affect a startling power, and within the more seemingly ordinary texts - 'glimmers of empathy', 'exuberance and flatness', a new 'experience of language' - I found exactly what I needed. -- Amy Key
Dimensions: 196mm x 130mm x 10mm