The faces, frames, words, and concepts in this book speak to and of the author's obsessions, history, and lunacy, but they have a resonance from a complex and rich cultural past that enriches them.... More > These visual poems are not Mayan at all, yet they could not have come into being without an experience of Maya culture. Human cultures are never exclusive or “pure”, but consist of dynamic mixings of many sources from many times and places. They are constantly in flux, and these pieces represent the incorporation of aspects of the ancient Maya world into the world we inhabit today. This is just one of the many ways in which the richness of the Maya universe is alive and well, and continuing to evolve. This is visual poetry with complex cultural and historical roots, and great contemporary resonance.< Less
John M. Bennett, The Sticky Suit Whirs: Los Preolvidados.
From a deep whispering closet comes a “whirring like a/s tick y su it”, like an immense door of sound, preforgotten sound which... More > thus forms the protean shape of memory itself. These poems are language as water in flux through all its forms: rain, lake, fog, river, ice, steam, storm, sea, and a cup sloshing on the table or still as glass. At 67 pages, this short book has an intensity of expression and a swarming variety of voices unlike any other writing you can find. “...I/saw the crown of tree I/ni remumembered where/the flaucet was”; “...ticking in your/,throat the;;;;;ra/in )counted with a hammer”.< Less
Bennett is obviously at home with both Siglo de Oro literature and its linguistic excesses, as he is with contemporary avant garde literature with its multidirected experiments to both destroy... More > language and to re-create it. In short, this intricate and faithful-to-the-original (homophonically speaking) “translation” will surely find its place among the major experiments in contemporary poetry. -Ivan Argüelles
Bennett’s transduction of Sor Juana’s Primero Sueño was written, he has said, by “pretending I don’t know Spanish and writing it out (reading it) as if it were English.” This process arises from “an interest or attention paid to speech and hand writing as ‘texts’ full of meanings that have nothing to do with linguistics. I often read, or try to read, printed texts that way, too.” .... John Bennett’s project is as significant as any we will find in current poetical practice. - Jim Leftwich< Less
Short text and mantra blocks by John M. Bennett, mostly in English, with some in Spanish and other languages. Each tightly coiled poem contains Bennett’s signature textual inventiveness and... More > compression, humor, bizarre and surrealist metaphor, and intense lyricism. These works could be described as “haiku” on steroids: “locksmith wobbled in/the afterbreath...)))dirt/whistle ,corncob and g/ravel...)))” or “los anos tantos años/alejados como una tos/tada en el traspa tio lo/que veo muje y el/sueño del conejo tengo”.< Less