CGP 26: A City of Angels
by Ben Mazer  (40 pp. Saddle-Stitched) $9 ppd.

A verse play in three acts by the author of Poems and January 2008. It would be fair to say that the drama takes place in an unspecified European university town with much to suggest more than tenuous comparisons to certain locales in Wales, that the play takes place in the latter 1930s, prior to the outbreak of the second world war, and that the play involves a complicated interweaving of issues concerned with identity, inheritance, and begetting. More concretely the play includes an ancient blood feud between rival clans, an ageing university president, an avant-garde theatre troupe, a pair of knitting aunts, a pair of drunken murderers, a man named Cross, a repossessed kingship, a wedding, and a great deal of lyric poetry. This is the poet's first published play (though he has been quietly writing plays for a great many years).

Praise for Ben Mazer's poetry

Mazer’s poems find aesthetic unity by arranging their emotional resonances in the themes and variations of the musical phrase, giving both voice and silence to the personal experiences that evade language. [ . . . ] Mazer’s layering of details, coupled with a tautness of form that is carefully governed by an exceptional musical ear places him among the most dynamic and original poets of his generation."
            —Christopher Bock in Jacket magazine
"Ben Mazer is lyric poetry's true hero and has not compromised one iota, as his amazing works attest with their singular purity, beauty and heartbreak."
           —Philip Nikolayev
"Like fragments of old photographs happened on in a drawer, Ben Mazer's poems tap enigmatic bits of the past that suddenly come to life again. To read him is to follow him along a dreamlike corridor where everything is beautiful and nothing is as it seems."
            —John Ashbery 
"Ben Mazer is one of the few poets of his generation to understand that only mastery of craft will bring you to the natural breath, and that to sing memorably in verse, with the body, on the line, is the only way to sound the depths of the passing moment."
            —Glyn Maxwell 
"I am a great admirer of Ben Mazer's poetry."
            —John Kinsella 
"A poet unabashedly enthralled by the past, one who has the good sense to turn his own obsessions into his poems' strength. Memory simultaneously masters Mazer and is made to speak through him." 
            —Patrick Morrissey in Harp & Altar 
"Mazer recognises that the lyric poem is more like a movie than like other literary forms [ . . . ] By deliberately withholding information he seems, at first blush, to betray the contract between poet and reader. The illusion of lyric is of a soul being bared. In fact, Mazer is here being more honest than most about the trick of lyric, and his illicit overtness (another kind of soul-baring) gives the poem its thrill.
            —Ailbhe Darcy in The Critical Flame 
“Whose poems are these? It looks like the heads of a hundred people made them, yet there is no disjunction, no coil of expression, no tragic dissolution here that fails our understanding. Don Juan, at the end of his life and trapped in a mineshaft, might have called these poems up to us. We need more of these poems, quickly, and we are in a state of distinguished penury now, for only one person, Ben Mazer, can supply them, and however much he provides there will always be gasping for more.
           —Stephen Sturgeon, editor of Fulcrum