Tuesday, December 14, 2010

John Bennett's Battle Scars

Editor Henry Denander of Kamini Press, based in Stockholm Sweden, sent me the press’ latest publication by John Bennett, a beautiful chapbook titled Battle Scars. While the cover features a beautiful abstract watercolor on the cover the poems themselves are my favorite kind: Straightforward and biting. John Bennett was born in 1938 in Brooklyn, New York, founded the Vagabond Press which published notables such as Charles Bukowski, Anne Menebroker, and many others, while John Bennett himself has published 39 books not including poems published in various anthologies. At age 72, Mr. Bennett is still writing and has his own web-site which I have included the link to at the end of this feature. Mr. Bennett now resides in Ellensburg, Washington, where he continues to write and publish as well as correspond with many other poets and sends his works via an e-mail list which you may sign up for after visiting his web-site.

Battle Scars, as I said, is straightforward with a bite that can be fierce, comical, or gentle. I am happy to share several of the poems with you:


I tell
people I’m
not one
of them &
they laugh
& say
have a

This poem has me saying aloud “Isn’t that the truth?” How often we find ourselves dismayed or disgusted by others’ behavior only to end up finding ourselves displaying that exact same behavior later, even amongst the same people who we initially were appalled by. I also think of this poem as being one that could apply to a mental health hospital as a result of the title since many people who need psychiatric help deny that they do. I imagine the residents of the institution laughing at the newest member when the new member announces that he or she doesn’t belong there. The poem can be taken at face value or to a deeper level depending on the reader and their own experiences.


After a
certain age
all mirrors are
good for is
checking for
skin cancer &
the nicotine
stain in
your mustache.

This poem makes me grin. It’s another poke at old age while including the humor in aging not-so-gracefully. Also, I hate mirrors so I like this poem all the more.

72nd Birthday

Sitting on
the hill at
sunrise with
my coffee &
fond thoughts
of all those who
hate my guts.

This poem is my favorite of the whole collection. I laughed aloud and then read aloud this poem to my husband. Just the idea of thinking fondly of the people who hate your guts is something I enjoy very much. The poet is rebellious and undaunted, the best way to be I say.

Ego Like Indelible Ink

Anyone who
tells you he’s
banished his
ego is

I mean,
there he
stands with
his motor mouth
running a
mile a

This poem had me saying “YES, yes!” aloud. Often the person who is announcing that they don’t want to bring attention to themselves is in some way actually announcing “pay attention to me!” This behavior is annoying at the very least and I love that Mr. Bennett wrote a straightforward and simple poem of the subject. Really, the rest of us could probably write prose for pages on this subject but Mr. Bennett is succinct and brilliant with his choice of words which captures the scenario perfectly with humor in the last stanza. Bravo Mr. Bennett!

I hope you enjoyed these short, straightforward poems as much as I do. The chapbook itself is also of high quality, spare and beautiful like the poetry inside. Each edition is also signed by Mr. Bennett himself in a limited print run of 125 copies so I urge you to act fast if you would like a copy for yourself.
To obtain a copy of Battle Scars by John Bennett for yourself, a mere $9.00 including international shipping or $18.00 including international shipping for the Limited Edition with artwork included, please go to Kamini Press’ site:


To learn more about Mr. Bennett visit his website at:


Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…


Jim Murdoch said...

Another great find. I just love pieces like these: short, sharp and straight to the point.

Poet Hound said...

Yes, sir! My favorite kind as well, glad you enjoyed it.