John M Bennett’s musical, aquatic, high octane avant poetry is not for the faint of heart, disciples of the orthodox religion called “linear thinking”, or for the post-Matrix, attention span challenged audience. But, Bennett and his work have a passionately loyal following which influences a small, tight group.
Bennett’s humor comes from the slimy trail of a nobly defiant mindset. I recall an email I got from Bennett a few years ago, informing me that beatnik surrealist poet Philip Lamantia had died. When I inquired the nature of that great poet’s death, Bennett confessed he didn’t know, but added, “I hope it was a suicide. That’s the only way a surrealist should die.”
Some of Bennett’s video poetry can be found on his site, by clicking on the link below.
Bennett’s LUNA BISONTE PRODS has released a collection on DVD called Ahhh Dog which contains Fifteen Short Pieces, Studio 1-9, Be Blankand John M Bennett in Paris. It can be ordered for $30 US postpaid directly from Bennett himself at:
John M. Bennett
137 Leland Ave.
Columbus, OH 43214 USA
Checks made out to Bennett (or cash).
A gem of a book comes with the dvd, photography by C. Mehrl Bennett.
Fifteen Short Pieces is a WIS project collaboration. Poetry and performance by Bennett. Video: Nicholas Carras.
The first short piece is Door Chain. The video depicts a crow eating, juxtaposed to Bennett’s voice, reading ” double greasy your please hump staining pork ice whistle foaming in your pants name the crack bob…”
Cheek Wreck and Learned Duck are delightfully mischievous. Cheek Wreck depicts a row of plastic water bottles with bright red caps as Bennett growls,”cheek the sawdust from yr tumba falling down the steps leak the slaw…”
A man in a white shirt walks around in a circular motion, grainy from above, “duck and hover plot to ashen us a natter fucked and muttered not a hash spattered on the wall neck…”
Studio 1-9 and Be Blank bring in a third collaborator in Allen Revich who adds voice, flute, harmonica and shuffling.
Revich plays flute in Studio 9 and has a priceless, befuddled look on his face as Bennett reads. In Studio 8, Revich reads while Bennett looks bored, yawns, and falls asleep.
Be Blank is archetypal Bennett at his hammiest. Bennett grunts and spews Be Blank, Be Blank, Be Blank, be blank , BE blanK, Beeeee Blaaaaaaaank, twisting his mouth, googly eyed, postulating, melodramatic, as Revich stoically looks down and shuffles in place. If you can get through Be Blank without a cigarette, you are stronger than I am.
Be Blank and Studio 1 – 9 on Bennett’s website. Not on the DVD, but also on the website, are four bizarre (even by Bennett standards) short videos; The Blur, Transmission, the Refusal , and The Intrusion, along with Bennett’s visual poetry, text poetry, and sound poetry.
Take your Bennett dissonance like an adult, and stock up on the smokes.