The formal and philosophical aspects on display NEW POEMS suggest that Mazer knows he is furthering on traditions established by T.S. Eliot and Robert Lowell. Evidence of myriad subtler influences as well can be found, evidences of Hart Crane, Delmore Schwartz, Robert Graves; John Crowe Ransom, Jack Spicer, John Berryman. The host of these influences move through Mazer's poetry but never dominate it. Instead, influence is transmuted by and bound up into Mazer's uncanny music of rhythm, emblem, and image.
Of Ben Mazer's immediately previous collection from Pen and Anvil, POEMS, critic Seth Abramson writes: "Mazer is a talented and enormously ambitious poet whose primary medium is nothing less than the sum total of all our collective and individual memories. On a palette so vast, the most vivid colorations and discolorations can still readily be seen -- but only with a sure hand to paint them, so it's fortunate Mazer's hand is so consistently and remarkably sure. It's refreshing to read a poet simultaneously so declarative, so honest, and so (though it may seem a paradox) intricate in his movements; many, many more people should be reading Ben Mazer than presently are." (The Huffington Post)
Thomas Graves, writing in Scarriet: "Mazer is perhaps the only living poet who can do Ashbery as well as, or even better than, Ashbery."
Henry Gould, writing in The Critical Flame: "Mazer is an Eliot redivivus. More precisely, Mazer triangulates Eliot by way of Ashbery and Hart Crane, with the added factor of some fourth, deeply-encrypted dimension... His is a mode of dramatic indirection, shaped into moral allegory, both placed (localized) and displaced (universalized). It illuminates how poetry, like painting, can embody meaning, rather than rationalize it into dead buzzwords."
NEW POEMS consists of works written between April 2010 and April 2013, many of which have been featured in journals including The Brooklyn Rail, Clarion, Harvard Review, Jacket, Poetry Northeast, and Spirited.