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Andy Gricevich

rocks just sit there
no shortcuts anywhere
in southern




A grunting puzzle.  A neck of ghost.  A sinking word.  These are only a few of the specters which haunt John M. Bennett's The Peel Peeled.  Published in 2005 by the poet's own Luna Bisonte Prods, the slender staple-bound chap is another foray into Bennett's murky psychedelica.  For more than twenty pages, the reader is immersed in Surrealist dreamscapes infused with a wake-up shot of Language Poetry...




Dirt: Tell us about your introduction to minimalism.  Who were your first influences? You mentioned Finlay before, so it's safe to assume that your work was shaped by artists operating outside the realm of poetry, right?

Aram Saroyan: My first big interest, pre-dating poetry, was photography (see my book Words and Photographs, Big Table, 1970), and for a while I had a sort of unspoken agenda, perhaps only half-conscious: I wanted to make a poem as immediate as a photograph.  Eventually I realized the immediacy of a photograph had to do with it being instantaneous, and a poem necessarily has a reading process.  However, a one-word poem, or a two word poem, and maybe a slightly longer one, is virtually instant, has virtually no reading process.  I was influenced too by Warhol and the sculptor Donald Judd, and American advertising.  I wanted a poem that would look good on a billboard...