22/30: Ben Clark, 30 Poets in Their 30s.
When I was a girl, I lived in an area that attracted plenty of lightning bugs mid-summer. My siblings and I watched them, chased them, and sometimes, briefly, coaxed them to land on our skin. We never trapped them in mason jars or glasses, but I like the imagery of that. Fireflies pulsing with green bioluminescence, creating gorgeous anarchic lanterns by their pulse.
Reading Ben Clark's work, what comes to mind are lovely, living lights that inspire awe and sorrow. Clark understands the dichotomy between distance and closeness very well – and the difference between beauty and brutality. He knows how to let tension in a poem ease just enough before it rains.
I like the lights Clark cages. I like how he whispers as he asks his reader to watch the glow. I warm my hands by that.
Ben Clark grew up in rural Nebraska and now lives in Chicago, Illinois. He has worked as an English teacher, librarian, tile maker, track coach, and in a microwaveable popcorn factory. He is an assistant editor for Muzzle Magazine, and recently returned from the very successful Little Bones tour with a new tattoo. His first full-length collection of poetry, Reasons To Leave The Slaughter, was released by Write Bloody Publishing in 2011. You can find more of his work here: benclarkpoetry.com
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