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John M. Bennett:

Luna Bisonte Prods
137 Leland Ave.
Columbus OH, 43214

24 pp./90 min.
Book $5.00; tape $6.00; both for $10.00

For years Bennett's two word instruction-poem "Be Blank" has been drifting through the otherstream, on stickers, postcards, magazines. And though this sense of the non-projecting mind pervades all of his poetry, in BLANKSMANSHIP he manifests it more masterfully than usual. And to have the poems on the page and literally in our ears via audio tape is sheer delight. The individual poems are longer than usual for Bennett, allowing us to experience deeper revelries of body and soul, mind and matter, convulsing to be; each piece ending with five words or combinations of words that can be associated freely with one another, with the poem, with the book as a whole or all of the above, or perhaps best, being blank, to simply let them be what they will at each hearing/reading. For instance these five at the end of "Number Wing":

Downflight  hurricane  wet  land  urinating  hive

The general body of the poems heard as well as read surge and flow with moments of epiphany and entropy--the two finally the same. So much of Bennett's poetry is dependent on individual perception, even differing states of mind in a single individual can produce wildly different reactions.

Bennett is a man possessed of reality triple intensified. These poems have an otherness, to be sure, but that otherness is intimate, as close as our thoughts and viscera. Side Two of the tape is a classic performance of the same piece with James Weise. This is prime Bennett, put on the headphones, open the book, and strap yourself in; you'll be ripped apart and love every minute.--Jake Berry

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This review originally appeared in TapRoot Reviews #5,
Copyright Burning Press 1994, 1996.

Contact the editor, luigi-bob drake, at Burning Press