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Comment: Fine; Wick Poetry Chapbook Series #11. Stapled wrappers. As new, tightly bound, internally clean.
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The Auctioneer Bangs His Gavel (Wick Poetry Chapbook Series 3) Paperback – February 7, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


"Reading The Auctioneer Bangs His Gavel, I had the sense of finding a poet I'd been looking for unawares: one who intertwines a survey of human sexuality (and gay sexuality at that) with theological questions; one who tackles ambitious poetic projects without sounding pretentious; one who writes fables using the ordinary materials of daily reality; one who balances the Jewish sources of the Western tradition with its Hellenic counterpart; one who knows how to be serious with the assistance of laughter; one who can tell a story and excerpt his own autobiography as a way of gaining larger perspectives on experience. 'No things but in ideas,' seems to be his aesthetic motto, and that has served him well in his goal - to declare that we are free to follow our natures in the pursuit of happiness." - Alfred Corn"

About the Author

Benjamin S. Grossberg is associate professor of literature and creative writing at Antioch College. His poetry has appeared in journals such as Paris Review, Pleiades, and North American Review and has been anthologized in the Pushcart Prize anthology for 2005.

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Product Details

  • Series: Wick Poetry Chapbook Series 3 (Book 11)
  • Paperback: 30 pages
  • Publisher: Kent State Univ Pr (February 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873388690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873388696
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,670,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Originally from Far Rockaway, New York, Benjamin S. Grossberg was educated at Rutgers and the University of Houston. From 2000 to 2008, he worked at Antioch College in Ohio, where he purchased a small farm and planted the Granny Smith orchard for which his second book was named. He is currently Director of Creative Writing and an Associate Professor of English at the University of Hartford, in Hartford, Connecticut.

Ben is the author of Space Traveler (University of Tampa, 2014); Sweet Core Orchard (University of Tampa, 2009), winner of the Tampa Review Prize and a Lambda Literary Award; and Underwater Lengths in a Single Breath (Ashland Poetry Press, 2007), winner of the Snyder Prize. He has also published a chapbook, The Auctioneer Bangs his Gavel, with Kent State University Press (2006). His poems have appeared widely, including in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies, Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, and the magazines Paris Review, Southwest Review, New England Review, Missouri Review, and The Sun. A recipient of individual artist grants from the states of Ohio and Connecticut, he serves as Assistant Poetry Editor and regular book reviewer for the Antioch Review.

Ben is also a distance runner and a vegetarian, and lives with a small, unnamed cat.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jill Summerville on January 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
However unfortunately, contemporary poetry has a reputation for not wanting itself to be understood. Even the most voracious and sympathetic readers often balk at poetry. It stays in its own section of the bookstore in a beret and dark sunglasses, daring readers to challenge it. Any reader who thinks of poetry and obscurity as inextricably linked should read this book.

The Auctioneer Bangs His Gavel is one of those rare poetry books that seamlessly combines the everyday world and the world of the imagination. Mundane incidents (seeing beetles in a tennis court, curbing an ant infestation, petting a lover's dog) become catalysts for reflections on individual incidents and, more importantly, individuals: their connection to their god, their desires and to each other. The narrator of these poems is sympathetic (In "Terro Ant Killer," he watches the ants' insatiable gluttony only to recognize the same tendencies in himself.), romantic, erotic, idealistic, humorous (Who does not wish that, by the time the end of the world rolls around, he/she will have a lover polite enough to open his/her coffin before climbing into his own?). In short, he is richly complicated, in the best, most ambiguous sense, much like the mythological characters who are often the subjects of his meditations.

The narrator's complication allows for both striking metaphor (the equating of apples with eroticism) and images that are striking in their simplicity. (The narrator cannot comfort a lover who has been sexually abused, but he can comfort the lover's dog, who is also a victim of abuse.)These are poems about life as it is and--that classic preoccupation of myth--life as it could be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
Benjamin Grossberg, The Auctioneer Bangs His Gavel (Kent State University, 2006)

The Wick chapbook series from Kent State University can be counted on to deliver good, solid poetry with every volume they release, and The Auctioneer Bangs His Gavel is no exception. Grossberg's poems are all over the subject map, from the sublime to the ridiculous, but he treats everything with the same air of wistful... well, perhaps respect is not the word. Examination, perhaps. The best example of this can be found in "Pig Auction", for it's possible no earthier subject could be found for Grossberg's rather ethereal language:

"From the sidelines where we stand, I suggest

we root for the pig; but you tell me that the pig,
its future in show, breeding, or pork--
most likely a combination-- needs no help
in rooting. I turn back to the pen, unconvinced,
because the odds seem stacked against it:

the reason? Auctioneer, voice tripping
like water down a rock face...."

I love it. How do you make an absurd situation more so? Ask Benjamin Grossberg. But puns and silliness are not by any means the complete story here; Grossberg's poetry runs the gamut.

"I'm fighting a god for you: Jesus, who scowls
at my petty ministrations from a cross,
or who looks down through a well in Heaven
and sees the fire of my cauldron burning
here on Earth. He will have you for church socials,
Easter egg hunts. He is furious when I spend
the night, and you don't get enough sleep to attend...."

While one can't blame Grossberg for this, the book's main problem is that it is too short; it's a chapbook, yes, and at thirty pages is actually pretty long for a Wick release. But I want more of Benjamin Grossberg. *** ½
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The Auctioneer Bangs His Gavel (Wick Poetry Chapbook Series 3)
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