Michael Benedikt : Early Books of Poetry

THE BODY (Wesleyan, l968) and SKY (Wesleyan, l970)

This is the first page of a Website with Selected Poems from Benedikt's first two collections of poetry.

[Modified 8/1/05. Prior 4/04 & 9/01]

Photo of Benedikt in l968

Benedikt, l968

Bio. Info & Photo of Benedikt in l998

About Benedikt & Websites

Site Contents

Pages Within This BODY-SKY Website

Poems are from first & second books by poet & were written in the 1960's.
They appear in l998-2004 updates. Range of revisions of verses--fine-tunings on up.

Quick-Links to Pages         Selections from The Body        'Dark Love Poems'         'Spooky'         Selections from Sky          Thematic Index

Page 1--Home Page

This Page--with 1968 & 1998 Benedikt photos & Comprehensive Bio & this Site-Map.

Page 2--Selections from THE BODY

Selected poems from a much-published contemporary US Poet's lst book of poetry.
Surrealism-attuned, risk-taking Lyrical & Narrative & poems + poems in some unusual forms.
[ Sidelights (1)  A number of poems in The Body (1968) have lines long enough to form stropes. They verge on prose poetry.
Sky has still more like that--bringing up the question of the similarity of, or differences between,
verse poems & prose poems. Benedikt wrote prose poems exclusively from circa 1971 to 1977.
(2)   Many Body poems have a relationship to the visual arts. He reviewed gallery shows in NYC from 1964-1973 for Art News,
& from 1965 to 1967 for Art International. He was particularly active as art critic during the years when these 2 books were written. ]
Subjects in The Body range from droll to dark. Black humor abounds.
A reviewer for Time magazine termed Body poems "a highly serious form of play."

Page 3--'Dark Love Poems'

From The Body. College level & College age for the above page please.

Page 4--'Spooky Poems for Halloween'

Especially Eerie Selections from The Body for the Halloween season--& also for year-round fans of horror poetry.
(About. com Featured Site Award '99-'04)

Page 5--Selections from SKY

Selected Verse from Sky (1970), Benedikt's 2nd poetry book.  While The Body includes a number of poems written in long lines which extend into strophes & verge on prose poetry, most of the poems in Sky explore that format. After Sky (l970), Benedikt wrote prose poems--a genre which of course dispenses with the line-break altogether--exclusively for about 7 years. He published two collections in the prose poem form: Mole Notes (1971); and Night Cries (l976). Links at this page to sites with selected prose poems from those books, here. He returned to verse with The Badminton At Great Barrington (1980). [ BTW, names of the many, many 1960's literary magazines in which poems from both Body and Sky were first published, are given at this site's closing page (p. 6--Thematic Index ].

Page 6--Thematic Index to THE BODY and SKY

Subject-Index to topics of poems in Benedikt's 1st 2 poetry books. Index includes thumbnail pix   of Body and Sky book-jackets, & acknowledgment pages citing the 1960's print media literary magazines in which the poems first appeared. Thematic Index sorts by title & theme (subject matter), all poems in both books. Accompanying semi-copious notes focus on key aspects of both books. Emphasis of the notes so far is on the relationship of the poetry to the visual arts & multi-media of various kinds. (Benedikt reviewed gallery shows in NYC circa 1964-1973, & was particularly active as an art critic
during the years when these 2 first books were written. He also edited 4 anthologies of 20th century drama, & wrote a few plays & other theatre pieces of his own). Index can be a Modern Poetry Course classroom teaching resource or an aid to Undergrad or Graduate students writing term-papers or theses on 20th Century poetry. Might also be useful to those writing papers on l960's Cultural History. Readers interested in the background of Benedikt's early poetry might also enjoy the photos from author's 1960's Archive.

Top of Site Contents             Top of This Page

Benedikt Biography & Bibliography

Derived from bios published over the years in
Who's Who In The World,  Who's Who In America,  WW East,  WW Entertainment,
& Who's Who In American Art, etc.

Photo of Benedikt in l998

Benedikt, l998

Michael Benedikt has published five collections of poetry, most recently The Badminton at Great Barrington; or, Gustave Mahler & The Chattanooga Choo-Choo, a book about the joys and sorrows of love (University of Pittsburgh Press, l980). His first four collections, Night Cries (prose poems, l976); Mole Notes (prose poems, l971); Sky (l970); and The Body (l968), were published by Wesleyan University Press.

Anthologies of poetry under his editorship include the landmark modern poetry anthologies The Prose Poem: An International Anthology (Dell/Laurel, l976); and The Poetry of Surrealism (Little Brown, l974). Benedikt is also the editor of four collections of plays, including three volumes of plays from the European "Theater of The Absurd" co-edited with theater critic George E. Wellwarth: Modern French Theatre: The Avant-Garde, Dada, & Surrealism (E.P. Dutton, l964; in U.K., as Modern French Plays, Faber Ltd., l964); Post-War German Theatre (Dutton, l967; in U.K., Macmillan Ltd., 1968); and Modern Spanish Theatre (Dutton, l969). He's the editor of Theatre Experiment: American Plays (Doubleday, l967).

Benedikt is a former Associate Editor of Art News and Art International, for both of which he reviewed 1960's art world exhibitions in the NY Metro area. Affiliated in the early l960's with poets of "The New York School," some of whom were also poet-art critics, he was briefly Managing Editor for the first N.Y. School literary magazine, Locus Solus. Selections from the poet's art criticism appear in book form in The Grand Eccentrics: 19th-Century French Symbolist Painters, edited by John Ashbery and Thomas B. Hess (Collier Books, 1971); and in the anthology Minimalist Art, ed. Gregory Battcock (E.P. Dutton, l968). A former Poetry Editor of The Paris Review, his editorial selections are represented in The Paris Review Anthology, ed. George A. Plimpton (Norton, l990). He was also a Contributing Ed. for The American Poetry Review and The Prose Poem: An International Journal.

His own work appears in ca. 65+ anthologies of modern and contemporary US poetry, the first anthology appearances of Body and Sky poems being in The Major Young Poets (Ed. Al Lee, World Publishing Co, l968) & The Young American Poets (Ed. Paul Carroll, Follet Publ. Co., l968). His uncollected l980's & l990's poetry has appeared in (among many other literary magazines) Agni, Antioch Review, Iowa Review, Jerusalem Review, Lips, Michigan Quarterly Review, The New Republic, New York Quarterly, Partisan Review, Washington Square, and several times in The Paris Review--his last appearance there being with a long poem in honor of Einstein in summer '99 (#151). Grants and awards for his poetry have over the years included an NEA Fellowship, a NY State Council On The Arts Grant, and a Guggenheim Grant. He's also won an NEA single-poem award, and, for several poems from The Body in 1968, the Poetry magazine Bess Hokin prize for Best Group of poems published thst year.

In the later l960's and in the '70's Benedikt taught as Visiting Prof. in the Dept of English & CW (Creative Writing) at Bennington, Sarah Lawrence, Hampshire, and Vassar Colleges; and at Boston University. Over the years, he's also given more than 100 readings from his verse / prose poems around the USA--including a videotaped "Mini-Retrospective" performance given in l986, at invitation of The Library of Congress. More recently, he's read from his poetry at various Barnes & Noble 'superstores' in the NY Metro area.

His poems have been praised by writers as diverse as James Dickey and Erica Jong. Benedikt is a graduate of Columbia University (1961, M.A.Comparative Lit.), and NYU's Washington Square College (l956, B.A. English & Journalism). The poet lives in Manhattan, NYC. Email re poems at this site: benedit1@aol.com

1968 Photo by Herbert Fogelson
l998 Photo by Laura Boss

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Click Up to Site Contents--Pages Within This BODY-SKY Website

Next Page of This Site--'Selected Poems from THE BODY'


Info re background of Benedikt 's Websites via feature article at About.com
'The Compleat Michael Benedikt--Poet Laureate of The Net'

More About Author at
>Benedikt Pages--The Academy of American Poets



NIGHT CRIES, author's 4th book of poetry
Brief Prose Poems
Prose Poems & Microfictions

Benedikt's 5th & most recent book of poetry
The Badminton at Great Barrington

A Benedikt manuscript-in-progress
The Thesaurus & Other New Verse

Other Pages Of This Website

Next Page of This Site--'Selected Poems from THE BODY'


Poems and poetry resources from everypoet.com

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