Book Twenty-One

Open Clothes

Steve Benson

ISBN: 1-891190-21-0
Publication: 2005
Pages: 130

In an afternote to the poems of Open Clothes Steve Benson explains, "The words in the texts in this book are, with extremely rare exceptions, just the same words as were written or spoken in the acts of composition described below." What follows are descriptions of his processes of composition and the contexts in which he composed: dictations to a microphone while driving cross country, lines written in quadrants of folded photocopy paper carried in a back pocket over 13 months, questions imagined on different occasions in a zendo, the transcription of a fully improvised performance. Benson's statement hints at the conceptual nuance in these works; they both are and are not "just" the words of his original contexts. In other words, Open Clothes presents innovative work marked by the not unfamiliar characteristics of site-specific art: in its composition it is open to the possibilities of a concrete local production. The complexity of Benson's work hinges on this understated "just"—these experimental texts work out the possibilities of an elegantly spare but open form, posing questions to us, to you, to him or her, to them, to himself. Leaving the work maximally vulnerable while generating situations that are maximally challenging, Steve Benson has created a work that is tenderly intimate and vehemently curious.

Steve Benson been associated with other poets often referred to as language writers, particularly during his period of residence in the San Francisco Bay Area between 1976 and 1992. He spent most of 1984 and 1985 in Spain. He grew up in New Jersey. But since 1996 he lives in Downeast Maine, where his practices include parenting and clinical psychology. He serves on the local Co-op board, participates in community groups supporting healthy ecosystems, peace and social justice, and sits at the zendo when he finds opportunity.

Atelos Catalogue

Raw MaterialsAstrid Lorgange

Totality CantosBrian Ang

WorkBrandon Brown

Weak LinkRob Halpern

YavizaRoberto Harrison

The Rebublic of Exit 43Jennifer Scappettone

Merry HellSara Larsen

Notched SunsetsTim Wood

Journey to the SunBrent Cunningham

PreDictionaryMikhail Epstein

HowellTyrone Williams

One Last DitchErik J. M. Schneider

To After That (Toaf)Renee Gladman

The RoutePatrick Durgin & Jen Hofer

ParseCraig Dworkin

To The CognoscentiTom Mandel

The TransformationJuliana Spahr

NegativityJocelyn Saidenberg

Ultra VioletaLaura Moriarty

City EclogueEd Roberson

Open ClothesSteve Benson

Noh BusinessMurray Edmond

The Up and UpTed Greenwald

BlipSoak01Tan Link

Poetical DictionaryLohren Green

Tis of TheeFanny Howe

PlatformRodrigo Toscano

The CraveKit Robinson

Some Vague WifeKathy Lou Schultz

lighthouseM. Mara-Ann

Gardener of StarsCarla Harryman

ForthcomingJalal Toufic

Alien TattersClark Coolidge

VersimilitudeHung Q. Tu

R-huLeslie Scalapinio

Cable Factory 20Lytle Shaw

Pamela: A NovelPamela Lu

TrueRae Armantrout

Bad HistoryBarrett Watten