"Ben Heins' vivid, disturbing poems are full of passion, empathy, and rage. In Cut Me Free, the poems cry out for freedom in the voices of collapsed, 'soul-sucked' balloons, an eviction server on a slippery front step on Christmas Eve, and a single father estranged from his own father. The book begins with a 'Letter of Disaffiliation to Freedmans Lutheran Church,' but the church and the idea of God can't be so easily escaped. From first to last, the poems take on big issues: a 'collapsing country' where a man is freezing while the speaker in the poem locks his doors, a person who is dying despite pills and an IV drip, and a church greeter who can't forget a murderous mental patient who collapsed in front of a congregation 'screaming for God.' Heins writes skillfully in forms ranging from a terzanelle ('I've Got This Grin You'll See from Space When You Come Down') to poems such as 'the Sin' and 'the Trembling' that are split open on the page by the intensity of the feelings they express."
Barbara Daniels, author of Rose Fever: Poems, Black Sails, and the Quinn and Marie series
"I was not 24; I was all my years at once, Heins writes in his Ginsbergesquely defiant, lyrical, ultimately elegiac opening poem, 'Ben Is.' And indeed, these beautifully realized poems seem voiced by a man too wise to be so young, too expectant and, at times, playful to be much older. Heins treats readers to a dizzying musical array and variations of form—witness the puzzle that is 'Jessica: The Distance,' followed by haiku, followed by the dense urgency of 'Read This Fast'—all carefully synced to each poem’s content/mood. These are poems guaranteed, in the words of this brave poet, to crack the marrow in [your] bones."
Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"