Blue Book    
Steve Benson    

Paperback,1988
ISBN: 0-935724-34-6

   
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A point of departure in Steve Benson's work is the uneasiness of the speaker. The manner as opposed to the matter of what can be said is the object of his address. Benson submits lyricism to devices of estrangement, introducing dissonances of scale that call the speaker into account. The poem seems to be straining at a 'capillary tissue' between the speaker's language and the you.

Benson's language is formed on the ambiguous edge between attack and retreat, acted out in a role-playing manner. The structure of identity is exploded in the form of a three-dimensional literary method in which the borders of personality, of self and nonself, are simultaneous and conflicting modes of expression. That this is being done in public locates the writer on a new and expanded scale.

--Barrett Watten, Total Syntax

Steve Benson's many and various works seem always to have been written from within a full milieu--contemporary and complicated, social and geographic--at a moment that has arrived abruptly and definitively. Benson's characteristic search for words is an exploration of the milieu. Whether curious or cranky, amorous, invigorated, outraged or comtemplative, he writes in order to discover and determine qualities and significances, and to inform himself, the person located in the midst of them. The entire process of the writing is expansive; the imagination gathers psychological momentum, becoming more and more conscious of uncoiling ramifications and of their intersections--of the immense amount of motion that is a person's life. I myself love Steve Benson's work; I always learn from it.

--Lyn Hejinian

Blue Book bristles with an exuberant improvisatory energy, telegraphically connecting linguistic probes and self-directed cross-examinations. Unlike the free-associative writing it may sometimes resemble, Benson stops to take measure, building structures both edifying and exhilarating.

--Charles Bernstein

 
 
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