Bruce Bennett won the second annual Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award, given by Plough Quarterly, for his poem “Stopping by with Flowers.” Read the announcement here, and the poem here.
“Bruce Bennett’s A MAN RODE INTO TOWN has great fun with the ‘lone gunman rode into town to set things right’ stereotype that we recognize as evolving from Arthurian legends through Gary Cooper and Spaghetti Westerns: the ominous jangling of spurs, the familiar clip-clop of hooves, the damsel in distress, the leathery hero who in the end ‘will just ride away,’ as the song goes. We begin to realize, however, as the repetitive thickening plot progresses, that this hero of our dreams and fantasies is ultimately a reflection of our own self-deceptions, a kind of Don Quixote figure, foolish and tied to his mortal coil as we all are, yet noble and even complex in his acceptance of his existential plight. And, of course, the formal brilliance and wit that Bennett has shown consistently throughout his career is on display as vividly as the gunplay.” — Michael Jennings, author of Summoning the Outlaws (Kelsay Books)
Bruce Bennett is the first recipient of the annual Writing the Rockies Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Creative Writing. Read the press release here.
“Bruce Bennett is one of our most distinguished lyrical poets. Like all great verse satirists, he has cultivated a technical virtuosity that he deploys with both principle and sprezzatura. Unlike many of them, he also extends his skill into serious modes and even heartbreaking subjects. This new volume showcases not only his Horatian wit (and occasionally Juvenalian indignation), but also his deceptively plainspoken tenderness as he looks with a clear eye at the way we live now. He is that rarest of lyrical poets, a virtuoso of his own perception who also attends closely to the lives of others—to our lives—in all their folly, sorrow and beautiful vitality.” – David Rothman, from the back cover of Just Another Day in Just Our Town
“This ample gathering of Bruce Bennett’s poems is the first since Booklist starred his collection Navigating the Distances (“one of the top ten poetry books of 1999”). Prolific and beloved, Bennett has produced a sustained series of chapbooks and small collections that only periodically are collected into full-length volumes. In addition to the parodies for which he is well-known, Just Another Day in Just Our Town includes serious, accessible, witty, and dramatic poems in a variety of forms. Comical without being dismissive, sharp-sighted without being reductive, they are supremely sympathetic to mind and ear.” – from the Orchises flyer for Just Another Day in Just Our Town
“Coleridge said that poetry must give pleasure, a requirement that Bruce Bennett’s work has long filled to overflowing. It is one of the most enjoyable bodies of poetry I know, which isn’t to say that Bennett— master fabulist and satirist, parodist par excellence—does not go deep. Often he compresses realms of wisdom into tight, economical passages. This generous harvest of his new and selected poems will nourish mind, heart, and funnybone. The epigrams in ‘Mind Sets’ are in themselves worth the price of admission, and they’re only the briefest of Bennett’s wares. You’ll find balladry, villanelles, sonnets, masterly free verse, brand new tales that might have come from Grimm’s, and a good deal more. Some of Bruce Bennett’s poems look likely to stick around for as long as people keep reading American.” – X. J. Kennedy, from the back cover of Navigating The Distances
“… Using an encyclopedic range of forms and styles, Bennett delights with his quips, epigrams, spoofs, satires, fables, tales, parodies, and epitaphs. And this is just the beginning of his variety. Those who love poetic lines, forms, patterns, parodies, and imitations find a cornucopia here: couplets, tercets, quatrains, and more; villanelles, sonnets, and limericks… One can’t help but enter into Bennett’s playful sincerity, engage with his joy, humor and honesty…
Bruce Bennett’s collected work represents a most unusual and delightful assortment… It represents craftsmanship of a careful, dedicated, and devoted worker in the fields of literature. It demonstrates a life lived among the great poets and writers of the language, a respect for their work, an appreciation of their skill, and an eye-level look at their accomplishments… Bruce Bennett’s art is very knowing, in its moral wisdom, its literary immersion, and its genuine sympathy. For those of us who read for pleasure and instruction, Bennett’s art delivers.” – Dennis Leavens, from Paintbrush, Volume XXX, “The World of Bruce Bennett” 2003/2004