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About this poet

Bruce Bennett was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1940. He received a BA, MA, and PhD from Harvard University.

Bennett is the author of several books of poetry, including Something Like Karma (Clandestine Press, 2009), Subway Figure (Orchises Press, 2009), and Navigating the Distances: Poems New and Selected (Orchises Press, 1999)

Of Bennett’s work, X. J. Kennedy writes, “You’ll find balladry, villanelles, sonnets, masterly free verse, brand new tales that might come from Grimm’s, and a good deal more.”

From 1967 to 1970, Bennett taught at Oberlin College, where he cofounded and edited Field: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics. He then went on to cofound and edit Ploughshares. In 1973, he began teaching at Wells College, where he cofounded Wells College Press and currently serves as director of the creative writing program. He lives in Aurora, New York.


Selected Bibliography

Something Like Karma (Clandestine Press, 2009)
Subway Figure (Orchises Press, 2009)
The Deserted Campus (Clandestine Press, 2003)
Navigating the Distances: Poems New and Selected (Orchises Press, 1999)
Taking Off: Poems, Parodies, Palimpsests (Orchises Press, 1992)
Straw Into Gold (Cleveland State University Press, 1984)

Fellow Creatures

I pat the horses’ heads as I walk by.
They’re gentle beasts, and friendly; they don’t mind.
The gesture heartens me. I don’t know why.

At first, they did not trust me; they were shy,
suspicious. Maybe I don’t seem the kind
to pat a horse’s head as I go by,

And maybe I am not. I can’t deny
that might not seem a move I’d be inclined
to make toward great dumb brutes, and I know why:

They’re alien; they’re stubborn; they defy
their handlers. They’re not safe to walk behind.
I pat the horses’ heads as I walk by,

Then stop at one, and peer deep in his eye.
There’s sense, I sense, yet not much I can find.
But still, that heartens me. I don’t know why,

Except, a fellow creature’s there that I
can stretch a hand to, ignorant and blind,
that makes me feel a bond as I walk by.
That gesture heartens me. I don’t know why.

Copyright © 2005 by Bruce Bennett. From Web-Watching. Reprinted with permission of Bright Hill Press.

Copyright © 2005 by Bruce Bennett. From Web-Watching. Reprinted with permission of Bright Hill Press.

Bruce Bennett

Bruce Bennett is the author of Something Like Karma (Clandestine Press, 2009) and Subway Figure (Orchises Press, 2009), among others. He lives in Aurora, New York.