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Endless Distances

Rick Benjamin

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  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.00" x 9.00"
  • ISBN: 978-0-9861537-0-9
  • Publication Date: 2015-07-01
  • Lawrence & Crane Pubs

Availability: In stock

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Paperback$18.00

Endless Distances

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The third full-length collection of poems by Rick Benjamin, former State Poet Laureate of Rhode Island.


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"These spare and flint-edged poems are concerned with what makes us human, what essence might be visible in solitude or in love, in the torturer's cell or the hospice bed. We are ‘surrounded, bound but/still seeing always a/certain opening over-/head’ in which we might find ‘stars & rims of sky’ that are, if we're lucky, ‘bright enough to navigate brutality.’ That qualified but brave vision is at the heart of Rick Benjamin's engaged, humane work." – Mark Doty


"This is Zen brush-stroke music. Rick Benjamin talks to the dead. ‘Say the word,’ he says. And, after a death, sorting through details, lots of pen-knives laid out on top of a dress: ‘He could never seem to put/his hands on one when he wanted it, just/went out to get another.’ Horrible cruelties happen in Guantanamo, beautiful tenderness in a South African cell. Prisons and something like a prison. Rick lets us look at such things from inside his spare, clean language-music. For this poet, ‘two strings’ are enough." – Coleman Barks


"Endless Distances is an absorbing meditation on the impermanence of our human experience and the heart's longing for a more perfect world. With unflinching courage, Rick Benjamin engages himself in striving for that singular word ‘with no bullshit in it,’ all the while acknowledging that ‘Some hungers/have edges so sharp no/ink can feed them.’ These poems bear witness to a wide range of subjects and emotions as they express how ‘life and death/are both part of the ineffable’ which we experience as we move ‘into the unglazed/future where death [lays] coiled/like a copperhead in the hollowed/out trunk of an old cedar.’ While Benjamin examines with uncompromising integrity the cancerous arrogance of power, privilege and self-righteousness which threaten to overwhelm us all, he ultimately seeks to lessen ‘the distance between us.’ Thes poems are written with such craft and grace that I am left with gratitude for the deeper understandings they offer my life and my world." – Michael S. Glaser

Rick Benjamin

Rick Benjamin is the most recent State Poet of Rhode Island. He teaches or has taught at Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, the MFA Program in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College, in many schools, and in community & assisted living centers — where he has passed good time in the company of people who range in age from six to ninety-six. He also serves as a Fellow at New Urban Arts — an afterschool arts mentoring program for Providence high school students. His poems & essays have appeared in PRØOF, Watershed, The Providence Journal, Tongue, 350.org, The Writer’s Circle, American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics (Wesleyan University Press), Urthona: An International Buddhist Journal of the Arts, Poem, Home: An Anthology of Ars Poetica (Paper Kite Press), and La Petite Zine. He lives with his family in a very small village in the smallest state.