Ugly Duckling Presse


Ben Fama

Poetry | $17 $14
Spring 2015
Buy"How did Fama invent a tone so perfect and icy, so equal to our times?"

Ben Fama’s Fantasy operates in a world of Internet, glamor, and lonely 21st century adulthood, through various other sorts of intimacies that happen through global production. Fama’s language and affect flatten desire while they maintain a tone of struggle and longing. Fantasy works at the question of how to spend time while alive in a humanity close to burnout, where the value of one’s own labor is as inconclusive as the profits of intimacy. The need for things butts up against the living nihilism of late capitalism.

Excerpt ˇ


Forever is the saddest word
The poem’s not worth it
I’d like to read to you
What Andy Warhol said
About the traps of the rich
But my tastes are changing
This is a love note
To a Fire Island lifeguard
Tuscano shearling
And mauve champagne
I should never talk
Even after two sips
Though that’s when I can

Close ˆ

About the Author

Ben Fama
Ben Fama is the author of several chapbooks and pamphlets, including the artist book Mall Witch (Wonder), Cool Memories (Spork), Odalisque (Bloof), and Aquarius Rising (UDP). His writing has appeared in The Believer, Denver Quarterly, Boston Review, Jubilat, Lit, and The Brooklyn Rail, among others. He is the co-founder of Wonder, and lives in New York City. Fantasy (UDP) is his first full-length poetry collection.

Advance Praise

Sometimes something gets written and it surprises you, though it feels familiar. An early-twenty-first century decadence with its adderalls. Still the colloquials and the coteries of the New York School, but now with selfies, with crying selfies even. And klout scores. And there is fashion week, the Miami, the Los Angeles. Tans. Pools. I read Fantasy again and again, thinking I could learn to recite its spell on my own. It is a book about an end. An end of our economic empire. Of the fantastical expansion of income. And the poems here just keep going. They keep going to work. They plan what to do when one encounters an active shooter situation. Sort of. Because there is no plan really that makes sense except maybe to keep showing up to work stoned.—Juliana Spahr
Ben Fama’s softly amalgamated new book, Fantasy, quietly elicits states of mind that we do and do not continue to inhabit. Memory traces, evacuations of past ruins pile up under present day linguistic and textual edifices. The socio-political erupts gently at the edges of fanboy/fangirl communiqués in which “fundamentalists decried jolie for using her wealth to surmount death and god.” In Fantasy, Fama uses his poetic intelligence to override dilemmas of understanding, and agitate all our ADLs (activities of daily living)—no small task for these overripe poetic times.—Kim Rosenfield
Fama has many faces, and fame comes in many sorts and sizes—from the one-week notoriety of the cover story to the splendor of an everlasting name (I may be quoting), i.e., Anaïs Nin commiserates with Trent Reznor about the fact that Kate Moss’s tan lines are, right now, more famous than either one of them. Fantasy is a Zipcar to cruise by such commiseration on the way to a resort Google maps can’t locate, but that “if you can’t afford it,” at least you can “affect it,” and there’s still “Glamour all night.”—Bruce Hainley
His long poems treat the reader to [thorough] prettiness and scuzz, pop cultural nods and swift swallows of theory, essaying variations on questions of being and art-making in the selfie era. How important is a #nofilter kind of poetry, anyhow?—Joanna Novak, American Microreviews