John Bensko

John Bensko


John Bensko won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award for his first book, Green Soldiers (Yale UP 1981). He has published three more volumes of poetry, The Waterman's Children (U of Massachusetts Press 1994), The Iron City (U of Illinois Press 2000), Visitations (U Tampa Press 2014)(winner of the Anita Claire Scharf Award), and a collection of short stories, Sea Dogs (Graywolf Press 2004).

His work has been anthologized in The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry; A New Geography of Poets; The Morrow Anthology of Younger American Poets; and The Yale Younger Poets Anthology.

His awards include a Fulbright Professorship in American Literature at the Universidad de Alicante, Spain; the McLeod-Grobe Poetry Prize from Poetry Northwest; an Editors Choice Award from The Sonora Review for the short story “The Ocean”; and a Lifetime Achievement Literature Award from the Germantown (TN) Arts Alliance.

A Professor of English at the University of Memphis, he teaches in the Creative Writing program. Through the U of M Study Abroad Office, he has launched a summer creative writing program in creative writing at the Universidad de Alicante, Spain.

Praise for John Bensko’s work:

“Bensko writes with a keen eye for quintessential detail.”
Publishers Weekly

“Bensko recreates an incident, a moment of feeling, with absolute fidelity.”
–Louis Simpson

“What lovely subtleties there are in these pages, what wry and melancholy voices!”
–Leon Stokesbury

“A marvelous interior voyage through real landscapes.”
–Maura Stanton

“Bensko’s stories are authentic, weighted, and worthy of all we can give them of ourselves.”
–Dave Smith

Many of my books are available signed (at no extra cost) from Burke's Bookstore in Memphis. They can be ordered online or purchased in their store in the Cooper Young section of Memphis. If a book is not listed online, please contact them. It may still be available.

Selected Works

Winner of the Anita Claire Scharf Award University of Tampa Press
Winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award Described by Richard Hugo in the forward as a book about ancestors, the book explores the emotions of loss, separation, and isolation.
Poems give voice to the yearnings of a young husband, his wife, and the beachcombers and travelers along the Virginia and Florida coasts.
Narrative and lyrical poems about Alabama’s coal and steel-producing regions.
Short stories linked by themes of pirates, storms, and coastal living.

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