There is not much that is original about this post – Dave Bonta is the brother of Mark with whom I’m staying in Cleveland, Mississippi this week and he sent me a link to a post on Dave’s blog via negativa where Dave discusses a ‘chapbook‘ of poems by Sarah Bennett.
Dave is a poet and by all accounts a good cook and lives up at Plummer’s Hollow, the Bonta family farm in central Pennsylvania from where he runs a number of blogs and on-line magazines including Qarrtsiluni, an experiment in online literary and artistic collaboration.
The title comes from an Iñupiaq word that means “sitting together in the darkness, waiting for something to burst.”
Dave also publishes a host of other sites, including Moving Poems, an on-going compendium of the best video poetry from around the web, Festival of the Trees, a monthly blog carnival for all things arboreal, Open Micro, that showcases the most striking short(est)-form poetry on the net, lyrical in 140 characters or less, The Morning Porch, another 140-character blog of views, sounds and thoughts from Dave’s front porch, Visual Soma, a photo blog, Shadow Cabinet, an online collection of recent poems, Spoil, an online collection of Dave’s older poems, and, last but definitely not least, Postal Poetry, a poetry postcard site that Dave co-manages…
Phew – Dave must never get any further than a foot or so from either his pen, his keyboard, his camera or his coffee cup. But have a look at the words and pictures yourself. Me, I love some of the photographs and images he has on the various sites and the poetry is pretty good too.
So back to Sarah Bennett’s ‘chapbook’ of Ten Poems about Highways and Birds…Dave describes Sarah’s poems as being:
…about either highways or birds, and many are about both. Bennett hails from eastern Massachusetts, and she told me that she used to have a long commute, and would often compose poems in her head and jot them down when she got to work, “a la Wallace Stevens (without the secretary).” In that respect, this book reminds me a little of Tom Montag’s distillation of poems from his Morning Drive Journal, The Sweet Bite of Morning, a somewhat longer chapbook published by Juniper Press in 2003. Where Montag is spare and often aphoristic, though, Bennett’s poems are each about a page long, and often pack considerable emotional punch.
I don’t have a copy of Sarah’s chapbook to hand but Dave gives some wonderful insights into her vision – in “Early Morning on Route 128,” the birds transform into species of cars:
Crows commute, heads down,
their line of black Fords slow
but steady. A heron keeps his Bentley in low gear.
Dave’s favorite poem in the book “involves not birds but earth-bound wildlife” teaching each other to deal with the trials and terrors of the human landscape.
In “On Crossing the Highway”, Sarah’s narrator advises:
Go at night.
It is easier
at night. They give off a light of
your feet won’t burn.
You can read more of Sarah’s work and Dave’s musing at his blog here – if you want to order a copy of Sarah’s book it’ll cost you $US6.00 – including P&P $7US should settle postage.
Sarah can be contacted at:
47 Sampson Avenue
Swampscott, MA 01907
Or they can email her at shbennett5[at]gmail[dot]com for more info.