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RADIATION KING
SWEETCLOVER
PANTHEON
AMERICAN LONELINESS
SMOKES
FRANKENSTEIN’S CHILDREN
AMERICAN LONELINESS  
|
  Roy Bentley

ISBN 978-0-9991994-7-3     $18  /  $21 (Canada)     6 x 9       

102 pp      
PUB DATE: April 2019       Book Release Featured Poetry





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American Loneliness is peopled with the famous and the not-so-famous, tenanted by the Wright Brothers and Nettie Potter Bentley, Joseph Kennedy and James Brown and Jay Gatsby. America, as presented, bests brave women and men alike: “My mother is comfortable with fury. She accepts it. / Like she accepted the contents of the pockets of her / dead brothers, miscellanea handed her in a morgue. / She is a woman who does not defer readily to men.” Roy Bentley shows us the world as a kind of Wright Flyer soaring above an Ohio field, the hoped-for miracle we let be enough for now.

“Our review has been proud to publish more poems by Roy Bentley than any other poet in recent memory. His are poems which ignite curiosity, poems which both disturb and console, fully comprehensible, though challenging without sacrifice to quasar-like intelligence. Here is a volume with plenty of doors and windows to invite the reader inside. In American Loneliness, we find Mr. Bentley a fearless explorer of human natures. These verses are a gift and replete with surprises, page after page. Among America’s most gifted storytellers. A poet’s poet and, equally admirable, a readers’ poet. A poet who gets it all right. And no false moves.”

—Robert Nazarene, founding editor & publisher, The American Journal of Poetry

 
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About the Author

Roy Bentley

Roy Bentley is the author of Walking with Eve in the Loved City (University of Arkansas Press), a finalist for the Miller Williams Poetry Prize, and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House Press), which won the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize. Other books include The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine Press), which was the winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize, Any One Man (Bottom Dog Press), and Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama Press), which won the University of Alabama Press Poetry Series. He has received fellowships from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the Ohio Arts Council, and the NEA.

 

Red Rover with Time Machine

The mysteries attached to the afterlife
solved by a strong odor of cigarette smoke,
the scent so extant in the bedroom it woke me.

I had imagined Mother calling out Boo! like this,
her lightheartedness behind a pulse she was happy
to let others check for. And then, well—I got up.

Searched the house. I didn’t call out Nettie! or Mom!
I wanted to. Wanted to shout it. And hear about death
and leaving the body. Maybe whether the loved dead

shouted: Red Rover, Red Rover, send Nettie right over!
Finally, her heart was strong but her lungs were shot.
A starveling, she smiled at those going for a smoke,

the patients on the Alzheimer’s ward linking hands
in open space in order to stay together as a group.
That year she warped like so much white smoke

and drifted away from us. The poor in Kentucky,
she had said, tearing up at the word Kentucky,
they didn’t have toys. They played Red Rover.

Sometimes in sleep, I’ll see her. She’s young
or young enough to wear the louder shapes
of Womanhood: the red-lipsticked Mother

who will never die because she breathes
the world in far too deeply to ever enter
a house where the rooms are pulse-less.

—Roy Bentley