A Transit of Venus

by Ed Bennett

$15 US
Chapbook - 18 poemsChapbooks.html

Table of Contents




How to Write a Love Poem

Mulligan in Love

Dog Playing Poker

Celestial Mechanics

Liar’s Poker

An Evening with Bird

Pas de Deux

For Anne Sexton – Almost a Love Poem

“No, the dress”


After the Divorce

The Vernal Notary



The Last Consort

About the author:

Ed Bennett is a telecommunications engineer living in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Originally from New York City, he spent most of his life there before moving to New Jersey and then, ultimately, settling in the Mojave.  His interest in poetry was born in the inspired teaching of both his elementary and high school English teachers.  In college he majored in science but took as many literature electives as possible and began writing poetry seriously.  He was Associate Editor of The Manhattan Quarterly, his college literary magazine, throughout his four years there.

After a hiatus of nearly three decades, he established a career and raised a family, he began writing poetry once again.  In 1997 he was a finalist for the Alan Ginsberg Award and nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2009.  He is also Staff Editor and a book reviewer for Quill and Parchment.  His poetry has appeared in Touch: the Journal of Healing, The Externalist, Autumn Sky Poetry, Quill and Parchment, Philadelphia Poets Journal, The New Verse News, and VIMMAG.

From the author:

The poems in this collection are, for the most part, about the darker side of human love where we find pain and loneliness.  There is some humor here, but it is a different world from the exalted love of the troubadours.  From time to time, even the greatest loves must make their transit through this world.

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From the publisher:

My interest in Ed Bennett's work began in 2007 when I read a poem he had posted for review on an online workshop.  Over time, my admiration grew into respect the more I was exposed to his writing.  At one point, while trying to write a constructive critique for one of his poems, I realized I had no more to offer him.  The clarity of his poetic vision was too clear, and his method was too good.  The only thing I could offer was to encourage him to submit his work for publication.  I'm glad he pursued this.

In his first poetry chapbook, A Transit of Venus, Ed Bennett explores the many facets of love with candor, passion, and, at times, even humor.  With the turn of each page, the face of a new life presents itself for us to absorb, to study, and to appreciate, and quite possibly, to show us reflections of our own lives.  Love requires work and like deep love, this body of work is not tepid; it does not shy away from the frenzy of the rut, the aching of loss, or the depth of emotion felt from a lifelong connection.  It is filled with tenderness, with fervor, and with regret, and it resonates at the deepest levels of the human psyche.

A Transit of Venus takes us from the awkwardness of one's first physical experiences to the passion of passing encounters and the heartache of betrayal and lost love.  Ed's poetic strength lies in his ability to depict images and examples of human relationships that are uniquely his own.  He draws on figures from history and mythology just as easily as he writes about people we could recognize from our own lives, yet he enables us to relate to each of them on a personal level.  From the fan dance of Anne Sexton to the slender neck of a cormorant, and from the Mourner's Kaddish of Judaism to the soulful notes rising from Charlie Parker's saxophone, he draws us into the intense moments experienced by the characters in his poems.

It is exciting to find a poet who can write with such candor and is able to do this while conveying the details and complexities of human passion.  It is rare though to find a poet who is able to do it on a level that while deeply personal is also universal in its message.  Ed Bennett's A Transit of Venus does this, it does it well, and it does so by exploring and explaining the human dimensions of love to which all readers can relate.

O.P.W. Fredericks, Editor

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The Foreword:

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a poem by Ed Bennett in a poetry forum.  It must have been the title that drew me, as his was one of many from which I could have chosen.  What I recall about that long ago poem was my own quickened heartbeat and soft, rapid breaths.  Here was a poet who wrote as though every word was a suggestive caress to the intellect.  I could make love to an Ed Bennett poem.

Over the years, Ed's poetry has continued to grow and to show the faces of humanity with both a profound respect and a brutal honesty.  In this collection, Ed maneuvers the reader through first loves, lost loves, mistaken loves, and unrequited loves.  In "Tryst," we learn that "the first time is never perfect," but the tender tone of the narrator belies the truth.

While poems about writing poems often seem quaint, Ed’s contribution with “How to Write a Love Poem” walks the same fine line as a relationship on the rocks and the soul forever changed thereafter while remembering “your children’s shouts / a Yankee game / your dog playing catch / the reckoning / the divorce.” Such hard truths between lovers become a song that sustains the collection through the many faces of human sexuality – "the afterglow of my delusion."  A love song to Anne Sexton serves as an apt tribute to another erotic master.

Though we know by the end of the collection that "Life is not a journey. / It is a ballistic path," what Ed Bennett possesses herein is not simple wisdom or wit.  With every suggestive caress, he possesses more and more of the reader who can't help but to come "alive with little more than / a kiss too long expected."

Larina Warnock, author of Guitar Without Strings

Editor, The Externalist

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From the critics:

It has been said there’s much to be valued about honesty, it’s that plain and simple; good poets recognize this, while brilliant poets peel back truth, layer by layer, until there’s nothing left to reveal but the sheer nakedness of the human spirit.

Edward Bennett’s brilliance is captured throughout his first chapbook, A Transit of Venus.  The poet’s honesty speaks to the universality of mankind in its purest form.  His blunt, “tell it like it is” accounts of life and personal relationships offers the reader insight into the fragility of a sensitive man unafraid to show his vulnerability in matters of the heart.  Throughout his collection, Mr. Bennett makes no excuses for love’s shortcomings as best described in "Tryst" when the poet admits, “the first time is never perfect,” reminding us that this can most often be said of anything worthwhile.

Deeply heartfelt, much of the poetry speaks directly to the muse drawing the reader closer into the experience with each impassioned breath.  In "Lilly," the poet professes a memory so influential the reader feels the woman’s intensity within his words, “No one knew how the fire of your flesh/ Impressed its meaning into/ Decades of quiet words and looks/ From eyes that gauged a soul,” where love transcends the test of time, an ever growing and changing dimension, until its depth can be measured by the mark that it leaves when a loved one dies.  Lilly’s death is one of the references that documents such loss and a desire that lives on beyond the people themselves.

Upon reading A Transit of Venus, it is easily recognized that the poet is indeed an educated and worldly man.  His poetry has purpose as he skillfully invites his readers under a poetic umbrella constructed of wisdom and vision shielding us from the harsh realities of life’s shocking tragedies such as terrorism and divorce.

In "Kaddish," Mr. Bennett celebrates the Jewish tradition of honouring the loss of a loved one through blessings and a religious ritual other than his own.  He offers praise to the Divine as he so eloquently refers to the victims of 911, “Until the day you fell/ a comet in a fractured firmament/ to the burning furnace of/ jet fuel exploding against a glass tower/ absenting love and all of its’ illusions,” in a poem action packed full of history, education and imagery that helps a novice better grasp the heritage and recognize to what degree believers of all faiths can express sympathy to a world struggling to understand.

From the playful side of affection to the serious side of devotion, in this chapbook, Edward Bennett shares with his readers a diverse view of life’s sensibilities and wonder with artistic talent, truth and perceptive reflection.  He makes no apology for not having all the answers when it comes to love producing a work of art I highly recommend for all personal libraries.

Karen Schwartz, Poetry Editor, Quill and Parchment

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In astronomical terms, “transit” is the motion of one celestial body over another.  Ed Bennett crosses and double crosses Venus, named for the goddess of love and beauty, with sometime sweet regret in “Homage;” dark desire  in “Tryst;” and musical longing in “An Evening with Bird.  Bennett’s smart, carefully chosen and perfectly placed words show us that love is not always pretty, but it’s always fascinating.  Heavens, I thought, as I travelled from one love crafted poem to the next…..stellar.

Bruce Dethlefsen, Wisconsin Poet Laureate, author of Breather (Fireweed Press, 2009)

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Ed Bennett has poetry in his soul.  Each poem in A Transit of Venus stands alone, yet is linked to the whole.  The collection reads like a memoir or novella, leaving the reader wanting to know, “What happened next?”

Sharmagne Leland-St. John, Editor-in-Chief, Quill and Parchment

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