Ben Lerner is an American poet, novelist, and critic. He was awarded the Hayden Carruth prize for his cycle of fifty-two sonnets, The Lichtenberg Figures. In 2004, Library Journal named it one of the year's twelve best books of poetry. The Lichtenberg Figures appeared in a German translation in 2010, for which it received the "Preis der Stadt Münster für internationale Poesie" in 2011, making Lerner the first American to receive this honor.
Born and raised in Topeka, which figures in each of his books of poetry, Lerner is a 1997 graduate of Topeka High School where he was a standout in debate and forensics. At Brown University he earned a B.A. in Political Theory and an MFA in Poetry. He traveled on a Fulbright Scholarship to Madrid, Spain in 2003 where he wrote his second book, Angle of Yaw, which was published in 2006 and was subsequently named a finalist for the National Book Award, and was selected by Brian Foley as one of the "25 important books of poetry of the 00s (2000-2009)". Lerner's third full-length poetry collection, Mean Free Path, was published in 2010.
Lerner's first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, was published by Coffee House Press in August 2011. It was named one of the best books of the year by The New Yorker, The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and New York Magazine, among other periodicals. It won the Believer Book Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for "first fiction" and the New York Public Library's Young Lions prize.
In 2008 Lerner began editing poetry for Critical Quarterly, a British academic publication. He has taught at California College of the Arts, the University of Pittsburgh, and in 2010 joined the faculty of the MFA program at Brooklyn College.
Lerner's mother is the well-known psychologist Harriet Lerner.
Ben Lerner is the author of books: Leaving the Atocha Station, The Topeka School, 10:04, The Hatred of Poetry, Angle of Yaw, The Lichtenberg Figures, Mean Free Path, No Art: Poems, Elegías doppler, Eleven Eleven