In September-October, 2017, Coldnoon celebrated six years of publishing, and travelling with you. To mark our anniversary, we got together with writers, intellectuals and stalwarts of the art of thinking (and travelling). Here is an interview with Ben Mazer.


We believe, in making travel arrangements, we subconsciously tend to eliminate possibilities which we deem unfit to perceived etiquette, or norms or occasions. Our understanding of travel is based on premises that define what travelling is not. Is writing for you a similar activity, where you are conscious of what writing is not? If so, what according to you is not writing?

Absolutely. And since so, what I would define as not writing, that which we discard in packing for our travels, is anything that does not come into the poet’s head, when she is possessed with the spirit of poetry.


Besides writing what would you most like to be known for?

Besides writing, I would most like to be known for being a loving person.


In 1794, the French author, Xavier de Maistre, wrote the renowned book, Voyage Around my Room, during a month and a half of solitary confinement, in consequence of a duel. Besides being a satire on the contemporary literary culture of voyages and adventures of colonial sailors to prospective new worlds, the book proved to be a demonstration of how an individual is almost always travelling, but perhaps does not recognize the value of their domestic travels, mobility or even touristic acquisitions. How do you see or understand travelling? Do you think it is a necessary activity for a writer?

The poet is always traveling in her mind when she is possessed by the spirit of poetry, and taking stock of the itinerary along the way. New worlds, indeed, abound.


Your favorite or most striking lines by another author; or if you will, any composed by yourself?

“but he has left his youth for something better” — myself, “Epilogue”. This line is directed towards a friend.


Do respond to the following words:

“I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” — George Orwell

There is nothing wrong or unusual about a poet wrestling with pigs.


What do you think of Coldnoon?

I have been impressed from the start by Coldnoon. The list of editors, the field of subjects, the ambition and drive and intelligence to aggressively go out and find new writers of talent and future distinction. It is one of the magazines I’ll read the most from now on. They seem to me to have a very good taste in poetry.


Ben Mazer

Ben Mazer

Ben Mazer was born in New York City and raised in the Cambridge, Massachusetts area. He studied under Seamus Heaney and William Alfred at Harvard University. Following graduation, he entered the Editorial Institute at Boston University to focus on textual scholarship. Ben Mazer is the editor of the Battersea Review. He lives in Cambridge. He has seven books of poetry to his name through various prestigious presses. He is also a renowned editor, his book Landis Everson’s Everything Preserved: Poems 1955–2005 (Graywolf Press, 2006), was the winner of the Poetry Foundation’s first Emily Dickinson Award. His Selected Poems (2017) were recently released through MadHat Press, Carolina