jim leftwich on the poetry of john m. bennett


Jim Leftwich takes on the enigmatic, complex poetry of John M. Bennett in a series of explorations of Bennett’s books. Leftwich, a poet, is an authority on Bennett’s ways of writing. His expositions include essay-like discussions, close readings of individual poems and lines, and glosses, hacks, and re-writings of Bennett’s texts. The re-writings create new poems and are ways in which Leftwich inhabits and/or illuminates the originals. At each chapter’s end, there is an email exchange between the two, discussing or clarifying aspects of the preceding exposition. The book is a fascinating journey toward the heart of a unique poet, whose work is generally impossible to approach using standard critical methodologies. This is a great opportunity to examine not only the mysteries of John M. Bennett’s poetry under the sharp magnification of the mind of Jim Leftwich, but a way to engage with Leftwich’s remarkable work as a poet and thinker about poetry.