“If pleasing by imitation satisfies, why strain after the new? But "why" is not quite correct; "how" find the novel? By accident—playing the wrong note, writing the wrong word...the "wrong" is then integrated into the old and becomes new, and we see with a startling truth that wrong and new are the same.”
Poetry criticism these days is either cryptically impenetrable or uselessly cautious, so Thomas Graves' passionate advocacy for the poetry of Ben Mazer is all the more welcome: ornery, provocative, and unafraid to slay some sacred cows of American letters...
Immersive, eccentric, affecting: criticism turned inside out.
Thomas Graves has a very real devotion to Ben Mazer's poetry and wants to pass it along in this book. Graves is a passionate, sometimes contradictory writer, pleasing to read without necessarily sharing his points of indignation. If a Romantic poet goes to extremes either inwardly or by travel, in order to test their own depth of consciousness, this study of Mazer as a Romantic poet, is accurate and interesting. Fortunately the poems by Mazer live up to the praise and to the word "Romantic" as Graves understands it. This is a valuable contribution to our ever-evolving understanding of American poetry.
Thomas Graves writes the literary zeitgeist Blog Scarriet, 2009 to present—playful literary competitions, original poems, essays, reviews—which led to this book. He grew up in NYC, received his Masters in English from Iowa, has published his poems in numerous journals, taught college, has original music on You Tube, is an amateur actor, and was invited to read his poems at a literary festival in Romania in 2016. He currently lives with his family in Salem, MA.