GHOST MACHINE by BEN MIROV
Here is a recommendation/email correspondence/review of Ben Mirov’s GHOST MACHINE. It is available from Caketrain!
I emailed Ben because I was really excited about his book. He loves spam!
I'm reading Ghost Machine and a review is brewing in my head because I am a reviewer now. These poems make me so depressed! I'm so glad you found C. a.k.a. got her back! [the poems depict a heart-wrenching loneliness after a break-up] Can you email me what you were thinking when you wrote them. They sort of seem like they're written in a solipsistic manner (some are regular poems, some lonely collages of the other poems, some take lines from other poems)--that isn't an insult, I just wanted to use the word sollipsistic. Give me a break here and help me. Am I right? Cuz I'm like "Wow, This is DEVASTATING." Take your time. I know you're on vacation. Something tells me you may have blogged about this--if so just send the blog entry and don't waste any more time and I’ll read that. This book seems to tell the story of a devastating breakup with of course the Mirovian spin—hilarity, heartbreaking self-loathing, etc., self-referentiality... Obviously i won't write that in my review of your book. "Hey this guy HATES HIMSELF!-- and I'm his friend so I KNOW!" Wait don't most poets hate themselves? So far my favorite is "Ummmm Machine" -- and I can see why the "EYE sequence" would be the most loathed. I don't loathe it but it is essentially the speaker of the poems spinning his wheels, re-editing lines and pieces of the surrounding poems into utter ennui -- his life is rendered meaningless. The lack of serotonin causing such pain from this breakup have turned man into Machine, he can't create, he can only edit, only spin wheels in his mind. A ghost of his previous self. He feels nothing anymore. It's funny that love does this. At this point I'm writing this email assuming it MIGHT actually be the review. I never write emails this long Another I loved was where you take the person out of the poem about the park. That was one of my most favorite lines. We talk so much about not mentioning the fact that your poem is a poem in the poem, but you're talking about what you're doing in a poem 2, 3 pages later. You're the man doing this. I have to say, you've grown up a lot and I am proud of this work, proud of you.
Believe it or not, a day later, Ben replied! (Grab some popcorn. This is good!)
I wasn't thinking anything when I wrote GHOST MACHINE. Maybe I was thinking something like, Life is essentially meaningless, but in a vague way that didn't connect to anything concrete.
I don't hate myself. I generally feel ok about my "self," or feel neutral about who I am. I don't hate the period of my life that GHOST MACHINE came from. It sucked, but it turned into something else (a book).
I hope when people read GHOST MACHINE they see that it isn't just about a breakup. I don't really know what it's about, but I think it has something to do with the "solipsistic nature of reality" and other things I haven't tried or wanted to articulate.
I think you accurately described "Eye, Ghost". Elaine Equi once told me she thought it might be "too long," which I think is true. But there is something necessarily "too long" about it. Like if a person is reading it and starts to feel bored or alienated by the poem, that's a desirable effect.
Here are some things I have written or said about GHOST MACHINE:
1.) interview a Scattered Rhymes
2.) blog post on the process of writing GHOST MACHINE
3.) book review at We Who Are About to Die
Thanks again. I love you.