An excerpt from Angle of Yaw by Ben Lerner

Photograph by Hester Angus

This week we continue to bring you work by the poets reading at the upcoming Poems about Nothing series at the Rubin Museum on the 26th. For more details about the reading, please click on our Upcoming Events tab above. Today’s poet is Ben Lerner.




HE HAD ENOUGH RESPECT FOR PAINTING to quit. Enough respect for quitting to paint. Enough respect for the figure to abstract. For abstraction to hint at the breast. For the breast to ask the model to leave. But I live here, says the model. And I respect that, says the painter. But I have enough respect for respect to insist. For insistence to turn the other cheek. For the other cheek to turn the other cheek. Hence I appear to be shaking my head No.




Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry, The Lichtenberg Figures (2004), Angle of Yaw (2006), and Mean Free Path (2010), all published by Copper Canyon Press. He has been a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, a finalist for the National Book Award, and is currently a Howard Foundation Fellow. He teaches at Brooklyn College.