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Mini-Site by Michael Benedikt

[Last Modified 5/02 & 1/06]

Brief Benedikt Bio.
Other Benedikt Sites & Other Only Child Links



It's hard for anyone who hasn't grown up as an "only child"
       to imagine just what that's like, I guess!

However (& I think I can speak about this subject with a certain
       authority, having grown up once as an "only child" myself)
I believe that--as with most other things about families (if not,
       in fact, as with just about everything else on earth)--

As with most subjects, in understanding this particular subject too,
A little stretch of the imagination can help!


For example, I'll bet that you yourself--even just for openers--
       can imagine quite easily
That "only" can mean sometimes kind of "lonely"

--And it's true: for an only child, right from the start
There are no elder sisters & no elder brothers nearby, much less
        in the very same room
For a kid to cry out in the night to, or as darkness falls to talk to;
Therefore a child who is an only child will often fall asleep at night

Listening to TV; or to the radio.


Nor is there any older sister or big brother to turn to, daytimes,
        to share with an only child the benefit of his or her experience
By offering advice on things like "How To Get Along In Life";

On the other hand there can be a certain element of excitement,
        can there not?--
& Even a certain "Pioneering Sense of Exploration"
        (as we might term it, to be brief)--

In "Finding Out Things For Oneself"!


Of course, in such a situation there's no little sister
        or little brother either
To watch over, look out for, & eventually share various favorite toys & such with
--& Perhaps sooner or later, to become jealous of;

Yes, I guess I can say from experience & even with a certain authority
That it's inconceivable that an only child experience anything at all

Like feelings of "Sibling Rivalry"....


In any event, a kid can get highly independent,
Growing up that way, relatively speaking on his or her own
        & all by his or her own "lonesome";

--He or she learns to Look Within in the main, for solutions to many of
        life's usual, youthful "Growing Pains"
First during childhood & then in later years
Revolving his or her own thoughts & racking his or her brains alone
        about kinds of things which to be sure, concern other people, too!

--Such as what in the world, might be best for one.


Even the parents the child might have depended on a whole lot
        more, & perhaps even loved a whole lot better
Had not such a one started early on, "Going It Alone"

Being seen--whether those two were sleeping together during long dark hours of night,
        in the room they inevitably gravitated to, which was their private space
Or whether they were hard at work--& thus hidden away then too
        & absent & in some other place--
As presences in a separate world of their own, too; & therefore
        as beings mostly "out there" somewhere, invisible & veiled like mysteries;
&--What with all the other preoccupations of their own, adult lives--

As distant as stars or galaxies.


The fact that in their own younger years, at least they were once Accompanied
Being confirmed by seemingly endless hosts
Of laughing-&-joking-together Aunts & Uncles, etc.,
Passing through the halls many nights--& yes, by all those other footsteps
        passing by one's bedroom door & into radiant, multicolored party-lights;
All coming & going during their mysterious visitations

Like meteors or comets in the nights...


So, just possibly, it takes a particular kind of courage
        for a kid to go on growing up that way--
As isolated & separated & aware of the vastness & the indifference
        of the darkness that surrounds him or her
As our Astronomers are, scanning the universe from all around
        the world & from outer space too
With both optical & radio telescopes

All hoping amidst the unanswering, obscure silences that they know, too,
To hear one signal or find one faint Sign
That our Earth itself, is not the only inhabited planetary Child
        of any sun in the Universe that's thus far known;

--& That none of us is really alone....

Of An Only Child's World --Poetry about growing up as an only Child evoking both Inner Space & Outer Space.
Child Psychology with  an 'Are We Alone" subtheme. Verses about a positive type of 'Exceptional Child'
view Only Children as independent, resourceful & perhaps even courageous young individuals.
With vignettes of life in a single-child family. Poem first published in The Iowa Review, © l995 Michael Benedikt.
Webversion © l998 Michael Benedikt. Revisions '02 & '06. From OF:--a work in progress.


Brief Bio.

Contemporary U.S. Michael Benedikt has published 5 books of poetry: The Badminton at Great Barrington; or Gustave Mahler & The Chattanooga Choo-Choo, a sequence of poems about an tragi-comical love affair (University of Pittsburgh Press, l980); &, with Wesleyan University Press Night Cries (prose poems, l976); Mole Notes (prose poems, 1971); Sky (l970); and The Body (l968). Poetry represented in 65+ anthologies. Books he's edited include two landmark anthologies of modern 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. He taught as Visiting Prof. at Bennington, Sarah Lawrence, Hampshire, and Vassar College/s & at Boston University; & also at the 'Y' Poetry Center in NYC. Over the years he's given numerous poetry readings around USA, including a videotaped retrospective reading at invitation of Library of Congress Literature Division in l986. Most recent readings at various Barnes & Noble 'superstores' in the NY Metro area. Benedikt lives in Manhattan. E-Mail at

There are many Websites by this contemporary American Poet. They have selections from several of Benedikt's books & two works-in-progress.



At Bottom of Page-- Links to Background  Info re Benedikt sites + 2 other Only Child Links


The Thesaurus and Other New Verse--with other verse from work in progress entitled OF:
Above Site contains a brief  'Guide to Benedikt Mini-Web'

Poems from Boston & Cambridge. An 'Only Child' Revisited
Verse from mss-in-progress entitled Transitions

Early Poetry: The Body and Sky--Selections from Benedikt's lst & 2nd books in 1998-05 versions.
And for the scholarly inclined & writers of term papers & others,
a Thematic Index of topics of poems in both of these much-anthologized collections of verse.

(With Notes & Commentary & photos from Benedikt's 1960's Archive)



'Of Living Alone--But Not Brooding Too Much About It'  with poem on an only-child-similar theme

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

'Of The Colorful Taganka Troupe in Soviet Russia, l957'
Poem about artistic courage. And above all re eternal human need for more bliss in life!--a central theme in OF:

'J u ly 4th Fireworks: New York & N.J. & Laura & Me'
About term 'Independence' in 'Independence Day'--& the uneasy relationship between public & private fireworks

'The Takings'  lst in a cycle of poems-in-progress about the impact of World War II on civilians:
'The Kapos.'  Re Nazi attempts in 1938 at recruitment of voluntary prisoners for the camps in Nazi Germany



Feature Article: 'The Compleat Michael Benedikt: Poet Laureate of the Net'

The Academy of American Poets
With a complete bio.  And a poem from 4 of Author's 5 poetry books

Great Ideas in Personality
Highly Recommended: Northwestern U's Alissa D. Eischens on Birth Order & 'The Dilemma of The Only Child'
Also Growing Up Siblingless--Single-Child Parenting, 'loner' Only Children, Versatile & 'ambivert' Only Children & more
With Searchboxes for Only Child Info & Other Research in Psychology/Sociology  Searchbox Link Temporarily in Limbo

Only Child data & lore including info re Psychology of Only Children & their needs & concerns as adults, too
Has extracts from print media magazine Only Child Digest

Top of Links