Glaring: a sustained look of anger, an obvious fact, a situation of such brightness and intensity that vision is obscured. In his debut book of poems, Benjamin Krusling is concerned with reading domination and violence and entering their psychotic motion, the better to do otherwise. Through the thicket of anti-blackness, militarism, surveillance, impoverishment, and interpersonal abuse and violence, Glaring investigates the things that haunt daily life and make love difficult, possible, necessary.
Benjamin Krusling's Glaring is the winner of our 2019 Open Reading Period, and was selected by guest judge Lucy Ives. It is the first book in the Passage Series.
Glaring is a beautiful and powerful, brilliant collection, combining energies of various modernisms with elegant maneuverings through the bleak media of contemporary America. Concerned with institutions—race, health, school, sports, police, family, money, history—as well as the shifting fortunes of affection and the self, these poems utterly transform two other well-worn institutions: the lyric and the page. Every line in this indelible book was my favorite.
—Lucy Ives (2019 Open Reading Period Guest Judge)
It is alarming to find what you are looking for, which is what I have found in the work of Ben Krusling. His writing is sensitive, skittish, seems to have no proper skin; its unmediated effects are both intoxicating and mystifying, insofar as he appears to have no truck with literary fashions or forms. While the surface of the work is magical; the interior is confrontational and wise. I find myself with a thinker who arrives "where het love is a freaky war machine." I hate the moment things begin to feel only intellectual, he writes. Does he love, then, being with the "shock" and "energy" of perceiving emotion as an aggregate and multidimensional thing, now partly digital? I don't know. The power of Ben's work is so undeniable, it's confusing to think about its singularity, which is a hint that it is from the future.
Glaring hurtles its reader deep into formal consideration’s command center, framing every punctum with queries of relation and autonomy. This text is a world where a title may hold as much as its referent, where the next work might begin inside its predecessor, where theater is stripped down to its circuitry and the charge within the performance of all language is laid bare. Benjamin Krusling’s nuanced graphical grammar is ecstatic in its quiet powers, and its scaffold of structural freedom finds tender affinity with the work’s overarching action—experimental reportage on explorations of an expansive interior landscape cracked open with softness. Throughout—heralding interiority and form—are a flickering bouquet parade of the unpaired insisting on their wholeness as is, insisting on their celebration as self. The work is ripe with fracturing’s urgency to show the ways of new wholeness, and blackness shines everywhere like slivers of light.
—Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves
About the author
Benjamin Krusling (b. 1990, Cincinnati) is the author of a chapbook, GRAPES (Projective Industries, 2018) and a text-image project, I have too much to hide (forthcoming from Triple Canopy, 2020). Prose and poems have appeared in Hyperallergic, The New Inquiry, Black Warrior Review, Denver Quarterly, Territory, The Recluse, Washington Square Review, and Tagvverk—and work has been awarded the Sonora Review Poetry Prize in addition to Pushcart Prize nominations. He has been awarded the Amiri Baraka scholarship from Naropa University and supported by residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Blue Mountain Center. His work has been anthologized in the Bodies Built for Game anthology of contemporary sports writing and presented at The Poetry Project, The Kitchen, the Segue Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House and other venues. Benjamin received an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop where he was awarded an Iowa Arts Fellowship and a postgraduate Provost’s Visiting Writer fellowship. He lives in Brooklyn.
Published by Wendy’s Subway, 136 pgs, 13 × 20 cm, Softcover, 2020, 978-1-7359242-0-5