Civil and Civic


(ECW Press, 2011)

from the jacket…
“As accomplished as Jonathan Bennett is at using language, he’s never fussy or precious about it. With his exacting, contemporary voice, part colourful reporter, part reluctant witness, his lines gain their effect by serving experience in the most necessary way possible, via clear-eyed attention and vivid diction. The result is an immediacy often lacking in other poetry. Civil and Civic’s nimble narratives will crackle in your ear.”  David O’Meara

The poems of Jonathan Bennett’s second collection, Civil and Civic, probe for present meanings of civility and civic mindedness, search for boundaries between private and public realms, and question the sprawling and often unintended effects of transparency and obligation. Medicine, the military, science, public relations, social justice, media, business, and the environmental movement are just some of the worlds these poems inhabit.


Here is my street, this tree I planted


(ECW Press, 2004)

From the back jacket…
Winding their way through places and lives, each undergoing a change of purpose, the poems of Jonathan Bennett’s Here is my street, this tree I planted move with seductive language and irresistible drive. As awestruck by the possibilities of change as it is keenly aware of loss, this debut collection rejects the too-easy judgments of navigation guided solely by a single moral compass. With influences as diverse as the poetry of Les Murray and the paintings of Edward Hopper, these poems—linguistically, culturally, emotionally—hitch one end of the globe to the other. Moving, seeking, at times playful, but always reveling in an articulation of transition: Bennett is writing the kind of poetry this country needs—one that is as universal as it is Canadian. 

Critical Praise

“[Bennett’s] ideas are vividly demonstrated in tightly-written poems so compressed, so chock-full of vibrant imagery and sense impressions that they evoke the powerful, timeless works of Dylan Thomas.” – January Magazine

“A good debut.”- Matrix

“Jonathan Bennett’s poetry debut, Here Is My Street, This Tree I Planted, invokes a striking poetic language in constructing the urban and natural landscapes of Canadian and Australian culture. Bennett roots his reader firmly in location in order to explore familiar themes of displacement, identity, and “home.” The transition of locale offers further considerations of these constructs as shifting esoteric spaces we occupy. Beyond the lyrical language, regard for form, and cultural insight of this collection is the humour, tragedy, and aesthetic triumph that furnish both everyday life and good poetry.” – TaddleCreek