About Bruce Bennett

Bruce Bennett is the author of ten books of poetry and more than thirty poetry chapbooks. His New and Selected Poems, Navigating The Distances (Orchises Press), received a starred review from Booklist, which cited it as “One Of The Top Ten Poetry Books Of 1999.” Just Another Day in Just Our Town, Poems: New And Selected, 2000-2016, also from Orchises, was published in January 2017 and has now gone into a Second Printing.

Bruce received his AB, AM, and PhD from Harvard, and taught at Oberlin College from 1967-70, where he co-founded and served as an editor of Field. In 1970 he moved back to Cambridge, where he co-founded and served as an editor of Ploughshares. In 1971, he married Bonnie Apgar, a Renaissance art historian, and for two years he and Bonnie lived in Florence, Italy. In 1973 he began teaching at Wells College in Aurora, NY. He and Bonnie have two children, Evan, an architect, and Millicent, an editor. Both live with their families in New York City.

At Wells Bruce taught British and American Literature and Creative Writing, directed the college’s Visiting Writers Series, which over the years brought hundreds of writers to campus, was long-time Chair of the English Department, and in 1993 helped to found the Wells College Book Arts Center and served as Director of Wells College Press. Wells Press publishes poetry books, chapbooks, and pamphlets, as well as letterpress broadsides by writers in the Visiting Writers Series. Bruce retired from teaching in June 2014, and is currently Professor Emeritus of English.

During the 1980’s and 90’s, he was Associate Editor at Judith Kitchen’s State Street Press in Rochester and Brockport, NY. He has reviewed contemporary poetry in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Harvard Review, and elsewhere, and his poems have appeared widely in literary journals, textbooks, and anthologies. He was awarded a Pushcart Prize for his villanelle, “The Thing’s Impossible,” which appeared in the Fall 2011 Issue of Ploughshares. In 2015 he received the first annual Writing The Rockies Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Creative Writing, presented at the Writing The Rockies Conference at Western State Colorado University in July 2015.

Major Publications by Bruce Bennett


  • Straw Into Gold, Cleveland State University Press, 1984
  • I Never Danced With Mary Beth, FootHills Publishing, 1991
  • Taking Off: poems, parodies, palimpsests, Orchises Press, 1992
  • Navigating the Distances: Poems New and Selected, Orchises Press, 1999
  • Hey, Diddle Diddle: Fables Of Love And Sex, FootHills Publishing, 2001
  • Funny Signals, FootHills Publishing, 2003
  • The Deserted Campus, Clandestine Press, 2004
  • Something Like Karma, Clandestine Press, 2009
  • Subway Figure, Orchises Press, 2009
  • Just Another Day in Just Our Town, Orchises Press, 2017

Chapbooks and Pamphlets

  • Coyote Pays a Call, Bits Press, 1980
  • The Strange Animal, State Street Press, 1981
  • Not Wanting to Write Like Everyone Else, State Street Press 1987
  • To Be A Heron, FootHills Press, 1989
  • The Garden & Other Abridged Versions, Bellflower Press, 1990
  • “Her poetry manuscript…is currently circulating,”  Wells College Press, 1994 revised and reissued, 2003
  • Bare Bones, Robert L. Barth, 1995
  • It’s Hard To Get The Angle Right, GreenTower Press, 1997
  • Forays, Clandestine Press, 1998
  • Maneuvers, Clandestine Press, 1998
  • Garretman,  FootHills Publishing, 1999
  • Ah, Firenze!, Clandestine Press, 1999
  • Last Words, Clandestine Press, 2000
  • Separations, Clandestine Press, 2001
  • Bruce Bennett: Greatest Hits 1962-2000, Pudding House Publications, 2001
  • Were I To Tell You, Wells College Press, 2001
  • Missing, (privately printed) Clandestine Press, 2003
  • Eternal Recurrence And The Big Bang, Clandestine Press, 2004
  • Web-Watching, Bright Hill Press 2004 Prize Chapbook
  • Grief And Love, FootHills Publishing, 2004
  • More Last Words, Clandestine Press, 2005
  • Late Night Music, Clandestine Press, 2005
  • Will Nobody Stop The Poet?,  Clandestine Press, 2006
  • Coyote’s Interlude With Little Miss Darling, FootHills, 2006
  • Examined Life, Scienter Press, 2007
  • Against All Hope, I Hope To Hear From You, Sticks Press (online), 2008
  • Visitation, FootHills Publishing, 2009
  • The Holding Stone, Finishing Line Press, 2009
  • The Bestial Floor, Wells College Press, Limited Edition Letterpress, 2010
  • A Girl Like You, Finishing Line Press, 2011
  • The Wither’d Sedge. Finishing Line Press, 2014
  • Swimming In A Watering Can, FootHills Publishing, 2014 [purchase here]
  • The Donald Trump of the Republic, FootHills Publishing, 2016 [purchase here]
  • Our Rough Beast: The Year of Trump, FootHills Publishing, 2017 [purchase here]
  • First Reader: An Homage to David Berman, Wells College Press, 2017 [purchase here]
  • A Man Rode Into Town, FootHills Publishing, 2018 [purchase here]
  • Images Into Words, Dove Block Project Chapbook (with James Crenner), 2022