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Before coming to Eastern Oregon University, James Benton worked as a sailor, an electrician, a nuclear engineer, a bill collector, a retail clerk, night janitor, rock musician, bank executive, and private investigator. He may have glossed over one or two minor enterprises.
Four-time winner, Dominic J. Bazzanella Literary Award
Poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction and book reviews have been published in Oregon East, Calaveras Station, Poetry Now, Convergence: an Online Journal of Poetry and Art, Word Riot, Raintown Review, Ragazine.cc, Concord Vol. 3, Flatmancrooked, The Possibility Place, Mixer, Rattle, and other journals. He is the author of two collections of poetry: Sailor, and The Book of Sympathetic Magic.
I have always been fascinated by the power and beauty of language. From the time my mother secured for me at the age of four a library card, words and sentences in their limitless permutations have behaved like an irresistible gravitational force. Certain passages in great books move me to tears every time and prove that human beings can connect deeply across chasms of time and space. Fitzgerald, Fernando Pessoa, Harper Lee, Thomas Pynchon, Jorge Luis Borges, even Rex Stout–there really are too many to name–every one a link in the great chain of human creativity and charity (their works are gifts to us). But that’s not all. From cereal boxes and bad cigar reviews, to training manuals and my grandfather’s depression-era diary, nothing printed is off limits. To read is to live. Or perhaps I mean to live is to read.