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And His Orchestra
Benjamin Paloff



Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series

Carnegie Mellon
2015 • 80 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
Poetry

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-88748-599-2



“Benjamin Paloff—and his orchestra—improvise a poetry of ideas that takes ontology and philosophy into wildly engaging and ungoverned territory. The poems resist predictable... [continued in Reviews below]”—Alice Fulton,

New poetry

In his second collection, Benjamin Paloff examines how we relate to others by relating to ourselves, and vice-versa—how the speech that runs through our heads as we run errands, wash the dishes, or brush our teeth is always and inescapably in conversation with those to whom we owe an unpayable debt. In poems that orchestrate imaginal dialogues with absent friends, And His Orchestra traces the inner experience of attachment, intimacy, and separation.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Benjamin Paloff—and his orchestra—improvise a poetry of ideas that takes ontology and philosophy into wildly engaging and ungoverned territory. The poems resist predictable synthesis in favor of something more marvelous and manifold: insistently plural utterance, wittily resistant gestures that enthrall with the tension of near collapse as their reach extends...In the midst of all this motion, uncertain obsessions make themselves felt: proximity, emergence, closure, likeness, difference, the real and the fictive, the eternal return, and its antonym, the unrequited.” —Alice Fulton

Benjamin Paloff's poetry has an extraordinary gift for making the effervescence of thought tangible while projecting the sensual world into brilliant 3-D. How obvious that the brain and body are connected: that however much we like to pretend separate states for our being, the gray and the meaty matter rule together. And yet so few manage to land as surprisingly and truthfully as Paloff does on this essential mark. And His Orchestra is one of the best books I've read in some time, and Paloff's is a truly distinguished voice in contemporary poetics.”—Erin Belieu

“Benjamin Paloff’s poetry has an extraordinary gift for making the effervescence of thought tangible while projecting the sensual world into brilliant 3-D. How obvious that the brain and body are connected; that however much we like to pretend separate states for our being, the gray and the meaty matter rule together. And yet so few manage to land as surprisingly and truthfully as Paloff does on this essential mark.”—Erin Belieu

“Benjamin Paloff—and his orchestra—improvise a poetry of ideas that takes ontology and philosophy into wildly engaging and ungoverned territory. The spaces between relations—human and linguistic—fibrillate and shift in these ingenious meditations. [. . .] Paloff’s Orchestra is constructed of speech as much as ideas, and the language is so colloquial and omniscient it’s like eavesdropping on the inner life of a demiurge. The effect is mesmerizing.”—Alice Fulton

From the Book:

“The End of the Poem”

Stop before we've started
free of expectation whether ours of process
of theirs that we choose between the dirty
noir sociology of the teacher's lounge
and what we remember as the hardscrabble life
in the ahistoric district that expansive star chamber
whose commerce is not our traffic
but whose traffic remains our commerce
and a language that while hardly rash
causes concern that you misappropriate
the incorporate experience
or take your investigation too far
once you realize that naked is
as naked does by the sea
by the sea by the beautiful sea
for no matter how our foes mean
to radicalize our freedom
it is only because we mean to capitalize
on our refusal to say uncle that we refuse



BENJAMIN PALOFF is the author of an earlier collection of poems, The Politics, and the translator of several works from Central and Eastern Europe. He teaches at the University of Michigan.



Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:47:31 -0500