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Mark Leidner

Mark Leidner is the author of The Angel in the Dream of Our Hangover (Sator Press, 2011), a book of aphorisms. He grew up in Georgia and now lives in Northampton, MA.


"A collection of poems that might make you feel like a flower, like a black hole, like punishment meted out at night by a giant tractor, like you have to get on fire, then slowly walk around your old neighborhood, like the town was real, like she thinks swoon is a funnier word than mulligan, and he thinks swoon is a funny word too, but no way in hell is it funnier than mulligan, like he's searching for the Holy Grail and she has little Holy Grail-shaped pupils, like an effusion of steam, like what's cool changes, like hemisphere paint, like a blue flower, like the house you have lived above forever."

– Factory Hollow Press

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Beauty Was the Case that They Gave Me

Assorted Thoughts On Beauty Was the Case that They Gave Me


-Mark Leidner is intensely clever.  This book is so dense with new ideas, so full of surprising juxtapositions that it puts many of the other books on my shelves to shame.

-These poems appreciate eloquence, but they understand that miscommunication is inevitable.

-The town I grew up in had woods and streams and swamps.  Reading this book reminds me of all the exploring I did as a little kid, mostly alone.

-While this book is, in many ways, a reflection of modern America, I’m sure that I’ll reread it in twenty years and love it just as much.

-These poems aren’t afraid of offending us.  They reflect the full spectrum of the real world; why can’t the most gentle man on the whole planet have a pedophile for a neighbor?

-Can a poem be socially awkward?  Awkwardly social?

-A sympathetic narrator ought to have doubts, regrets, shortcomings, etc.  I’m not looking for poems that claim to have all the answers.

-How many poets can write about sex without it feeling gratuitous or melodramatic?

-If I wanted to prove to a non-poetry reader that poetry is alive and well, I’d feel confident that this book could get the job done.

-It’s not easy to be funny.  Poetry that tries to be funny usually falls flat.  Leidner has a real gift, an effortless deadpan that makes his poems uncomfortable to read at times.  He’s got to be kidding.  He says he’s not kidding.

-Is it possible that someone could be content after reading the following two excerpts from “Romantic Comedies” and not feel the urge to read the rest of the poem, the rest of the book?

Everyone in his life has drowned and he hates dogs and she’s a collegiate swimming coach with a thousand dogs.

He is Norway but she is holding out for infinite fjords.

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  1. Tiffany said on 10/19/11 at 12:06 pm Reply

    You’re right: the phrase “infinite fjords” hooked me.

    Also, your remark about this book demonstrating to non-poetry readers that poetry is alive & well reflects something I ALWAYS think about when reading poetry. Would a person who doesn’t read poetry like or, even, be able to get through this collection? I encounter so few people who like poetry these days that I am continually compiling a list of books with the potential to convert non-poetry readers. I will add this one.


  2. Jordan Blum said on 10/24/11 at 12:02 pm Reply

    I agree with Tiffany; it seems that most people either “get” poetry or they don’t, and I’m intrigued by poetry that seems so accessible. I think there is a common stigma that poetry is for elitists and academics; perhaps this book can help shatter that. I also love the line about the dogs and drowning; two great contradictions in one phrase.


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