October 25, 2009

Guy Bennett

Guy Bennet [USA]

Guy Bennett was born in Los Angeles, but grew up in the suburb of Gardena. As a young child, his father left the family, and Bennett and his younger brother—a sickly child who died at the early age of 29—were raised by his mother and grandmother, both of whom spoke a dialect of Italian, the grandmother’s native language. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Bennett attended the University of California and received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. In 1993, he graduated from that institution, with a PhD in French literature. His interest in Futurism also led him to master Russian and Italian.

Soon after graduation, Bennett met Douglas Messerli at an Italian Futurist conference, and—after showing the publisher some translations he had done of Marinetti, for which he had recreated the original typefaces—came to work as typographer for Sun & Moon Press.

Simultaneously, Bennett taught French language and literature at UCLA and other local community colleges. He also began to translate books from French and other languuages, many of which were published by Sun & Moon and Green Integer. Previous to the publication of his own first book of poetry, Last Words, Bennett began his own press, Seeing Eye Books (in 1997) which continues to publish four books, available by subscription, annually.

In 1999 he became Associate Professor of Liberal Studies and Communication at Otis College of Art & Design. The year before he married French scholar and writer Béatrice Mousli, and together they now split their time between Los Angeles and her native Paris.

In 2000, Bennett published The Row, and in 2001 his chapbook 100 Famous Views was published by 108.93 press. The Italian publishing house ML & NLF published a bilingual collection of his poems, Drive to Cluster (with art by Ron Giffin), in 2003.

Bennett has continued to translate and to typeset books for several local and national publishers. With Standard Schaefer, Bruno Franklin and Chris Reiner, he organized a poetry reading series at a local café. And he has been active in several poetic ventures throughout the city. With his wife, Bennett organized an exhibit and conference on “French and American Poetry in Translation” at the University of Southern California, the Autry Museum, and Otis College of Art & Design in 2003.

Bennett’s writing, like his personality, is witty, urbane, and highly focused. His writing often has formal systems quietly embedded in it, but the poetry itself in influenced by a wide range of interests: music (for several years he played bass in a local musical group), photography, film, architecture, and, as one might expect, the languages and literatures of other countries.


Last Words (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1998); The Row (Los Angeles: Seeing Eye Books, 2000); One Hundred Famous Views (Atlanta: 108.93, 2001); Drive to Cluster (Piacenza, Italy: ML & NLF, 2003); 32 Snapshots of Marseilles (Corvallis, Oregon: Sacrifice Press, 2010); Self-Evident Poems (Los Angeles: Otis Books/Sesimicity Editions, 2011)

from Self-Evident Poems

Preliminary Poem

This poem is self-contained
and self-sufficient.
It does not require critical commentary
or explanations of any kind
to convey its meaning,
which is self-evident.

It does not exceed a single page,
and is thus appropriate
for publication in magazines
and anthologies.

It can be read in a single sitting,
and will not unduly tax the reader or listener
as it neither necessitates nor benefits from
excessive post-reading reflexion.

Literal Poem

This poem
means exactly what it says
and nothing more.
It was intended
to be taken literally,
thus no figurative language
was used,
and no symbolic meaning
can be infered.
For this reason
I feel confident in asserting
that it is not possible
to not understand
this poem.

Poem Based on a Comparison

This poem
is not unlike a small animal
living, imperceptibly,
on the periphery of the human world,
hiding in bushes,
crawling through tall grass,
or cruising silently
in water so turbid
that no one will ever see it.

Conceptual Poem

Aesthetically speaking,
this is not a conceptual poem.

Linguistically speaking,
it is.

Palindromic Poem

A palindromic poem
reads the same way
from beginning to end
as from end to beginning.

Poem Written to Be Read

This poem
was written to be read,
whether silently or aloud,
to oneself or others,
as frequently or infrequently
as one might like.

In that respect,
it is no different
than any other poem.

In other respects
it is.

Poem with Rhyme

Everyone knows
that poems don’t rhyme

Enigmatic Metaphorical Poem

This poem is something else!

Elliptical Poem

This poem


Poem on the Death of The Author

This poem was written
prior to the death of the author,

Socially-Relevant Poem

I had never written one
before this.

Elitist Poem

The paradigmatic shift
implicit in the title of this poem
may well elude the common man.

Populist Poem

I couldn’t think of one.

Anti-Intellectual Poem

This poem is against intellectualism
in all its forms.
It rejects the results
of abstract reasoning and analysis,
which often contradict the simple home-truths
held since birth by the majority.
It is deeply suspicious
of anyone and anything
not immediately and transparently
and is acutely wary of explanations,
elucidations, and demonstrations
of any kind.
It prefers home-schooling to education,
faith to knowledge,
opinion to evidence,
entertainment to information,
shooting first to asking questions,
cowboys to indians,
Oprah to opera,
ketchup to kimchi,
and us to them.
In its blithe self-centeredness
and baseless confidence,
it bitterly opposes anything
not as patently self-evident
as this poem.


(c) 2010 by Guy Bennett

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