Review :: John M. Bennet, "The Peel Peeled"

John M. Bennett :: The Peel Peeled
Luna Bisonte Prods, 2005

A grunting puzzle. A neck of ghost. A sinking word. These are only a few of the specters which haunt John M. Bennett's The Peel Peeled. Published in 2005 by the poet's own Luna Bisonte Prods, the slender staple-bound chap is another foray into Bennett's murky psychedelica. For more than twenty pages, the reader is immersed in Surrealist dreamscapes infused with a wake-up shot of Language Poetry. Throughout the book, powerful syntax experimentation and fantastic imagery both compete and play off each other.

While Bennett’s visionary pronouncements are at times incomprehensible ('roof clock a/waves/-hole-'), the poet more often than not lives up to his rep as a skilled wordsmith.

Take this tiny jewel:

pallid wasp carre
unfolding in the coffee

With those lines, Bennett illuminates the blessed seam between the ordinary and the sublime. The poem can only be described as a moment of clarity, what the Buddhists would call a moment of subtle perception. Bennett’s eye for detail is always sharp.

The Peel Peeled continues Bennett's proud legacy of pushing minimalism to its avant extremes. It is a quick but thoroughly absorbing read. The dozens of miniature poems which fill its pages are priceless glances into one of underground poetry’s most eccentric minds.

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