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Ben Mirov on Ben Mirov.

April 21, 2010 \am\30 11:00 am

Ben Mirov, author of GHOST MACHINE, reviews Ben Mirov‘s GHOST MACHINE.

GHOST MACHINE (Caketrain Press; May 2010) by Ben Mirov is 110 pages long. It is composed of 42 individual poems. Many of the poems were composed between 2006 and 2007 in the Mission District of San Francisco, California. The poems in GHOST MACHINE can be best described as collage poems. The poems frequently reuse certain lines, putting them into new contexts. Words like and, or, it and a recur frequently throughout the collection. Pronouns such as I, he, she and they also frequently recur. This repetition of words and sentences contributes to the sense that these poems are pretty boring. Very little seems to happen in individual poems and throughout the course of the collection. Many parts of the book seem to encapsulate moments where very little to absolutely nothing occurs. Here is a selection of some of the most boring sentences in the book:

1.)  I was buying broccoli.

2.)  I’m sleeping on a couch.

3.)  I switch cheese steak for burrito and feel the same.

4.)  My ideas are boring.

5.)  I switch Hot Lesbian Sandwich for Elements Taken From Trees.

6.)  I look at a plastic bottle.

7.)  We find a boring lake.

8.)  My penis looks at a table

9.)  They have office-sex.

10.) I hang around on someone else’s couch.

Many of the sentences in GHOST MACHINE are about a young, occasionally unemployed male who spends most of his time making poor life decisions, in bad relationships, at bars or parks or asleep. The narrator in these poems seems like an undesirable individual who lacks a strong sense of ethics. The narrator in GHOST MACHINE can best be described as passive, emotionally ambivalent, under the influence of illegal narcotics, horny, lonely, confused or all of the above. Many of the sentences encapsulate moments of extreme ephemerality. Some of the sentences contain typos and or make very little sense. A large number of the sentences seem detached from reality. At times the book seems to contain a linear narrative, but mostly the narrative threads don’t go anywhere. Here is a list of places it would be good to read GHOST MACHINE:

1.) 2007, Hush Hush Bar, San Francisco, CA (14th and Gurrero)

2.) Tundra

3.) 2079: San Angeles, People’s Republic of California

4.) riding the “porcelain tractor”

5.) kitchen floor

6.) in bed, fully clothed, 2-4pm

7.) shower, fully clothed, crying

8.) next to refrigerator, naked, crying

9.) street corner, invisible, crying

10.) next to Ben Mirov, naked, in a loud high pitched falsetto

After reading this book somewhere between 200 or 300 times, I believe it is fatally flawed. Many of the poems seem content to be total failures. It seems like the only thing GHOST MACHINE succeeds at is failing. Here is a list of things you can do with your copy of GHOST MACHINE, besides reading it:

1.) Inadequate Halloween Mask

2.) short-range frisbee

3.) domino

4.) sandwich pedestal

5.) time machine

6.) mobius strip

7.) Valentine’s Day gift for loved one.

8.) Mother’s Day gift.

9.) 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

10) Swamp.

As a work of literature, GHOST MACHINE will probably never be considered “an eternal classic.” It will probably never be mentioned in the same sentence as works of literature such as The Selected Poems of W.H. Auden, or that one poem by Edgar Allen Poe about the bird. If this book ever becomes a well-regarded piece of literature, it will probably happen sometime in the future, like the year 2060. Someone, probably a disillusioned grad student, will find a copy of GHOST MACHINE in the dollar bin at a used bookstore and attempt to write his or her thesis on it. The thesis will receive a B minus, but because of the obscurity of the book, the grad student’s peers will embrace it as a lost classic. Consequently, they will write many posts about it on various literature blogs and futuristic media outlets, thereby rescuing GHOST MACHINE from total obscurity and improving their credibility amongst small select groups of their peers. GHOST MACHINE will go on to determine the course of American Poetry for about two or three weeks, but the author, Ben Mirov won’t care because he will have spent his entire life working as an adjunct English professor in downtown Brooklyn or he will have moved to Chico, California to raise llamas and die alone.

  1. April 21, 2010 \am\30 11:19 am 11:19 am

    There is no debating this review. It is why most of us like the book.

  2. April 21, 2010 \pm\30 3:43 pm 3:43 pm

    I would like to debate this review. But not your liking of my book.

  3. April 21, 2010 \pm\30 8:08 pm 8:08 pm

    Hi, Ben, longtime reader, first time responder.

    I’d like to read your poems without actually reading them or listening to them being read. Are you aware of any advances in science that will allow this to happen?


    Ryan Werner

    • April 21, 2010 \pm\30 8:29 pm 8:29 pm

      Hey Ryan,

      I suggest you read Kathy Acker to learn how to read without reading.

      It’s actually a pretty common thing, to read without reading.

      It’s actually my preferred method of reading, to read without reading.



  4. Martin Rock permalink
    April 21, 2010 \pm\30 9:33 pm 9:33 pm

    Hi Ben,

    Do you think one issue will be sufficient for use as an inadequate Halloween mask? My concern is that most of my head will remain visible, and also that people might mistake me for a dice-roll of two. Please advise.

    Also your chapbook “I Is To Vorticism” is pretty good, but my biggest complaint is the lack of practical usage. Can you provide me with a few ways I might be able to get some use of it in the “real world”?



  5. carter edwards permalink
    April 21, 2010 \pm\30 10:42 pm 10:42 pm

    Hi ben,
    I am almost sitting naked next to you now. Am I still aloud to read the poems or should I finish the job?
    Also can I request more bears in your next collection?
    That would be kind of sweet.
    Also scary.

  6. April 21, 2010 \pm\30 10:51 pm 10:51 pm

    Ryan: read my mind.

    Martin: order 1000 copies of I IS TO VORTICISM and build a small house. I will sign them for you.

    Carter: I am alone in my room. Are you from the spirit world?

  7. Amy Lawless permalink
    April 21, 2010 \pm\30 10:56 pm 10:56 pm

    I am next to you weeping. Seems pretty appropos. Carry on. Young Mirov.

  8. Amy Lawless permalink
    April 21, 2010 \pm\30 10:57 pm 10:57 pm

    Are you throwing up in your own mouth

  9. April 22, 2010 \pm\30 8:20 pm 8:20 pm

    Word. This review just blew my mind.

  10. April 23, 2010 \am\30 4:32 am 4:32 am

    From now on I will write all my reviews in the form of lists. Also I will only review things I have written. I am inspired.

  11. April 26, 2010 \pm\30 11:20 pm 11:20 pm

    Also: Failure is a wonderful aspiration. Beckett likes you. I do. I will buy a copy. I will use it to make myself feel better. If your failure in this review is still [something bad, not a word], then I can rewrite it for you.

  12. Ben Mirov permalink
    April 27, 2010 \pm\30 11:34 pm 11:34 pm

    Greg: thanks

    Kristy: rad

    Ross: Thanks for buying a copy. Please rewrite my review. That would be great.

  13. Car permalink
    May 3, 2010 \pm\31 11:27 pm 11:27 pm

    You forgot something on your lists:

    List of where to read it: Eating brunch at Baur’s
    List of who to give it to: the lady-mop-friend Dan met at the Hare on Friday

  14. mollye permalink
    May 9, 2010 \pm\31 11:18 pm 11:18 pm

    hi ben,

    I do not approve of this review. Your book, and individual poems, are superior to Melissa Broders’ ideas of your poems, not that Melissa said anything wrong. However, the review unfortunately concentrates on the shadows your poems leave rather than the objects casting those shadows. Fortunately people who like poetry tend to read a collection more than once before making permanent potentially life-sucking conclusions. Anyway, you’re awesome as is your art.


    • May 10, 2010 \pm\31 2:42 pm 2:42 pm

      What up Mollye. Ben wrote this review of his own book, therefore life-sucking himself.



      • mollye permalink
        May 10, 2010 \pm\31 9:39 pm 9:39 pm

        Oh, my bad Melissa. I’m totally blushing. I guess Ben modestly spoke of his work so as not to pump it up. Sorry Ben! and Melissa! Anyway I thought you wrote it so I sincerely apologize for assuming. I will check out your work now, this debut book of yours. Please no hard feelings. I like you!


      • May 10, 2010 \pm\31 10:40 pm 10:40 pm

        such is life in blogworld. he is lucky to have such a loyal fan.

  15. Ben Mirov permalink
    May 11, 2010 \am\31 12:33 am 12:33 am

    Molly: I love you.

    Melissa: I’m life sucking myself right now.

    M & M: You guys are rad.

  16. mollye permalink
    May 11, 2010 \am\31 1:01 am 1:01 am

    He’s a good friend of mine whose perceptions I like. And actually it turns out I’ve been to a few of your Polestar series events. I’m planning on attending the July 11st one especially to hear christie anne reynolds and leigh stein. Nice series– thanks for them. m.

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