“Heartfelt congratulations on Just Another Day in Just Our Town, again one of the top poetry books of the year, if not THE top one…”

–  X. J. Kennedy

Bruce Bennett’s first collection of New and Selected Poems, Navigating The Distances, published by Orchises Press, was cited by Booklist as “One Of The Top Ten Poetry Books Of 1999.” Orchises has now brought out his second New and Selected.

Although Just Another Day in Just Our Town includes poems from several of Bennett’s books and chapbooks written since 2000, the book is not a conventional New and Selected. A large number of the poems have not been previously published, and many of them are very recent. Just Another Day is organized into sections, which invite the reader to journey with the author from the quotidian and local into a darker interior landscape that opens into a kind of free-wheeling Alice In Wonderland literary tour, followed by a suite of villanelles which act out a pas de deux with the villanelle form. The concluding sections are more personal, focusing on questions of identity and vocation rendered all the more urgent by the encroachment of intimations of mortality.

In quoting Borges as a preface to both books, Bennett implies that the personal journey of self-discovery they document resembles everyone’s personal journey. And it is clear throughout this new collection that the continuous play with form, narrative, voice, and character is Robert Frost’s “serious play.” It may be just another day in just our town, but it is a day with everything in it, and it is no more ordinary than our extraordinary lives.

Photograph courtesy of Miguel Gil.