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Mini-Site by Michael Benedikt

[Last Modified 7/5/00]

Click for Brief BenediktBio.



To live alone is to be immensely in charge of the silence
So that, if you have something serious to think about, such as
        a problem you have to solve, & are determined to solve,
You'll probably think about that problem long & hard;
        & probably (since you're usually able to) uninterruptedly, too

--Perhaps for entire mornings, afternoons, & evenings;
Or indeed, maybe whole days on end!


In fact, if you're living alone & therefore, when you're home,
        are--eek! yipes! & oh horrors!--by yourself most of the time,
        with only yourself to keep yourself company
(Except of course for an occasional, hopefully tension-relieving, relaxingly welcome guest!)
It's obviously really necessary to concentrate, & reflect,
        & think your actions out before you perform them
Since, after all--just in case you foul up on on things--

You're the only one you're going to be able to blame
For things that happen to go wrong!


Certainly, if you're living alone, it's important to choose those friends,
        acquaintances (& any lovers, too!) whom you do see,
        especially wisely & well
--That is, for their & soothing, & relaxing, & unnannoying qualities
Lest you find yourself entertaining as guests, merely pests
        who take advantage of your acquired knack for problem-solving
And who wreck your hard-won peace-of-mind
By passing along endless problems of their own that they haven't solved

--Being, themselves, far too distracted to do so
By those they regularly reside with.


--Being constantly surrounded each day by, for example:

The cheerful confusions of a busily uproarious, merry family; or perhaps,
        the ups & downs of an equally boisterous, but argumentative,
        & dysfunctional one;
Or perhaps, by the turmoil of overly-talkative, excessively sociable
        room-mates who interrupt their concentration constantly
        by babbling at them randomly or else coming & going
        all the time--shouting helloes & goodbyes & then slamming doors
        like big, loony cuckoos popping in & out of cuckoo-clocks;
Or perhaps, by live-in lovers or other close companions, such as spouses,
        who all too often, it's been my experience, seem to feel somehow entitled
        to interrupt virtually every physical & mental move of their living-partners
By asking what they're doing; & why they're doing it, all the time

--Or by any one of the other various, relatively riotous & (I think)
        generally God-awful living-arrangements which humans are
        forced into or which, sometimes, they simply accept or inherit
Or which (much to my amazement!), they often
        actually willingly create for themselves!

--Most of which, IMHO, tend to befuddle people.


--But individuals living alone should not brood too much about such things, I think
But instead, substitute for such negative, perhaps purely self-defensive,
        & possibly unproductive thoughts as those

The positive--& yes! even decidedly festive idea--of carefully selecting their friends
        & associates (& sometime in the future, perhaps living-partners too)
Exclusively from among that rare, discriminating, well-focussed, thoughtful,
        & IMHO also thoroughly courageous breed of individuals
Who've been responsible for themselves & for themselves alone--with an
        absolute minimum of interruptions!--

For at least some few moments, & for at least some continuous time,
Within recent memory.

An earlier, longer version of "Of Living Alone--But Not Brooding Too Much About It"
was first published in Agni © Michael Benedikt l992.
This Webversion © l999 Michael Benedikt.

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Brief Biography

Michael Benedikt has published five collections of poetry, the most recent of  which is The Badminton at Great Barrington; or, Gustave Mahler & The Chattanooga Choo-Choo, a book of love poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, l980). His collections with Wesleyan University Press are Night Cries (prose poems, l976); Mole Notes (prose poems, 1971); Sky (l970); and The Body (l968). His work is represented in more than 60 anthologies of US poetry. Books he has edited include the landmark anthology of global prose poetry The Prose Poem: An International Anthology (Dell/Laurel, l976); and The Poetry of Surrealism (Little, Brown & Co., l974).  A former Poetry Editor of  The Paris Review, his editorial selections are represented in The Paris Review Anthology (Norton, l990). His literary criticism has appeared in Poetry and The American Book Review, and he is currently a Contributing Ed for American Poetry Review & The Prose Poem: An International Journal.  He has taught at Bennington, Sarah Lawrence, Hampshire, and Vassar College/s; and at Boston University, and occasionally gives readings from his poetry at colleges, universities, and bookstore chains, etc.   Benedikt lives in N.Y.C., with E-Mail at

Note: Selections from Benedikt's books appear at several   Websites

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Click for  The Thesaurus and Other New Verse, with other verse from work-in-progress entitled Of:
--the manuscript including 'Of Living Alone.'

Site includes a complete 'Guide to Benedikt Mini-Web'

Click for Poems from Boston & Cambridge. An 'Only Child' Revisited. Verse about living in Boston area, including a poem about making the best of an overly isolated Christmas in 'The Hub.'
From a work-in-progress entitled Transitions

Click for  Early Poetry: The Body & Sky, including selections from Benedikt's first book, The Body,
in 1998/9 versions. &--for the scholarly-inclined, writers of term papers & others who might be interested
--a Thematic Index of topics of all poems in both, much-anthologized collections


'Of An Only Child's World' with poem on an 'Of Living Alone'-like theme. Also from Of:, a work-in-progress

'Of Orson Welles Remarkable l938 Radio Program The War Of The Worlds' with new poem on a sci-fi theme

'Of The Colorful 'Taganka Troupe' in Soviet Russia, l957'
with poem about a sprightly theatre/dance troupe which flourished despite leaden footed times

'American Vibrations' with poem about some of USA's female erotic pioneers


Info. at re Background of Benedikt Websites via article,
'The Compleat Michael Benedikt: Poet Laureate of the Net.'

Info. at The Academy of American Poets. Includes a complete bio.
& one poem from 4 of Benedikt's 5 poetry books

This Site Established 1/1/00