Review: Battle Scars

John Bennett shows a mastery of simple elegance in his collection of short poems of about 20 words each.

John Bennett
52 pages
4 ¼” x 6 1/8” saddle-stapled chapbook; full-color laid cardstock cover
First Edition; Marked Review Copy
Kamini Press
Stockholm, Sweden
Available HERE
Signed Edition (including world shipping): $9
Numbered Limited Edition with watercolor by cover artist, Henry Denander: $18
Review originally published on 4/29/15

John Bennett shows a mastery of simple elegance in his poetry collection, Battle Scars. Bennett is able to break huge ideas, feelings, and circumstances into incredibly short shards, all around 20 words. I find flash pieces difficult enough to write, but Bennett takes it to an entirely new level. Battle Scars mainly focuses on the personal viewpoints and observations of the author, but also includes poems such as “Pay Back”:

One out of
ten million
who are
goes on to
raze an
entire society. (p. 6)

and “Original Sin”:

has replaced
original sin. (p. 11)

that take on more worldly tones.

Bennett’s plays-on-words can have a dramatic effect on the meaning and interpretation of his poems, especially when read aloud. It’s difficult to pick but a few poems to showcase, not only because of their brevity, but because each shard in this book pulls at different emotions and daily circumstances.

John Bennett has spent more than half of his life writing, creating over 30 books. His fragmented style makes his writing an easy and enjoyable read, but also makes it something you find yourself re-reading time and again to make sure you’ve got a hold on its true meaning. Battle Scars is a book of poems that everyone can relate to, and will be a go-to book that I grab now and again in case I find myself with a little bit of extra time.