Without Compass

Without Compass

by Benjamin Miller




Through recurring dreams of grandeur, self-sabotage, and defeat, Benjamin Miller’s collection Without Compass explores the desert margins between faith and emptiness, between “desire and its counterfeits.” Carved down, elliptical, the poems seek “the perfect flaw” with which to “cruel you to thought.” From behind the “veil and doubt” of the lyric voice, they lead us in pursuit of the possibility of belief.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935536383
Publisher: Four Way Books
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Series: Stahlecker Selections Series
Pages: 76
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

BENJAMIN MILLER has degrees from Harvard and Columbia, and studies Composition and Rhetoric at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Table of Contents


Desert 3

Field Glass (Disassembled) 4

Desert 5

Persistence as an Accident 6

In the White Noise of the Evening 7

Field Glass (Manifest) 8

Zoetrope with Unopened Window 10


from Reasons I No Longer Date 13

Lions Will Take You and I Will Not Care 14

Terminal 15

Desert 16

Jacob and the Angels 17

The Way You Find Me 18

Cohortative with Pity 19

Interview 20

Field Glass (Communion) 21


Beneath a Shawl of Gathered Wool 25

Desert 27

Desert 28

Numerology 29

Interview 30

In the Place of Best Intentions 31

It Rained Tonight 33

Self-Portrait as Forewarned Caesar 34


Dinner in the Uncanny Valley 37

Misconception 38

In a Recurring Dream of Winged Ascent 39

Persistence as an Acolyte 40

On the Margins of the Portable Country 46

Intimations of the Thaw 47

Resolution 50


In the Wake of Avoidable Tragedy 53

Interview 54

Desert 55

Isaac After the Mountain 56

The Failed Prophet Addresses His Unborn Son 57

Desert 58

Checklist for a Savior 59

Field Glass (Approach) 60

What People are Saying About This

Kevin Prufer

“Nuanced, discomforting, and filled with a fascinating spiritual awe.”

Tom Healy

“These gorgeous, painful poems map the unpredictable weather of the psyche: torrential, scorching, cold or calm. We would be lost without them.”

Lytton Smith

“Ben Miller’s precise debut is a work of forceful imagination and elegant verve – a masterstroke of approach and echolocation.”

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