Jenny Benjamin

Poet / Writer

Jenny Benjamin is an award-winning poet and novelist. Over 30 of her poems have appeared in journals, including DIAGRAM, South Carolina Review, Fulcrum, Baltimore Review, Chelsea, and the Crab Orchard Review. Her first novel, This Most Amazing, was published in 2013 by Armida Books in Nicosia, Cyprus. Her poetry chapbook, More Than a Box of Crayons, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

She’s a freelance writer with her own small business, JB Communications, LLC. Jenny lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her three daughters and dog.

Dan Mullen / Fotolia

Bay View was one of the first places we visited for a Lake Effect On-Site.  It’s home to poet and contributor Jenny Benjamin, who wrote a poem in honor of the show and the place she calls home.  Here she is, from that broadcast, reading “My Neighborhood”:

What borders are here, around this house?
Fernwood School fences
A canopy of ash trees in the rain
Lakeside sunrise, salt mountains, windmill,
Coffee houses, hat shop, soap shop, pet care,
And bars, lots of bars, for sugar maple-ing the night away.

geargodz / Fotolia

In-laws can be difficult to win over, and as poet Jenny Benjamin points out, sometimes the work is just as physical as it is emotional.

clownbusiness / Fotolia

We’re fortunate to have a chance to hear from some remarkable poets, from around the world and around our own area on Lake Effect

Poem: Dappled Things

Jan 26, 2017
Photocenter / Fotolia

Poet Jenny Benjamin reflects on writing poetry, spotted dogs, and the 'dappled things' that make up an average day. 

Glory be to God for dappled things…
All things counter, original, spare, strange…

- From “Pied Beauty” Gerard Manley Hopkins

Poem: Gift

Dec 6, 2016
Tomasz Zajda / Fotolia

In a city like Milwaukee, summertime brings mixed blessings. For many, summer heat means the return of festivals, outside dining, and long walks in the park. For others, it's a season rife with danger. Local poet and teacher, Jenny Benjamin, reflects on a summer night that changed her life forever. 

Poem: Family Camp

Sep 1, 2016
Charles Knowles / Flickr

For many of us, summer offers that rare opportunity to get away and spend some time with the people we love. You might have a special place you retreat each year.

But as Milwaukee poet Jenny Benjamin can attest – going to that special place also means you have to leave it, as well.

Jim Bauer / Flickr

My students that one April were sudden, quixotic, real.

Teaching Oedipus the King came easy,

All the late arrivals started coming on time,

And I felt like a superstar teacher,

One with an electric tote bag, armed for irony,

Greek choruses, masks that show a character’s emotion.

[Oedipus worries the fates of his daughters

Down to the bone of his eye sockets.

Who would have them?

Who would surrender to their dirty seed beds?

The husband is a frozen wing of a bird,
flesh and feather yarned to bone.
They are bones, painted rooms, and shallow
pools bodies make when they exhaust everything.

The wife manages the shepherd's pie, jarred honey
extracted from her own swarming hives, where her
bees stung him on time in the face as she curled
herself on the bed nursing her newborn son.

Poem: Magician

May 18, 2015
aquarian_insight / Flickr

I can divine these brambles.
Or these gnarled flowers at my feet.
They obscure my heels as I
float on yellow horizons.
Tip the diagonal of my arms into
the numbers of years set down like dust.
I can, you see, lead you somewhere,
over rock and highland green.
I can conjure stone from earth
to make a window to another world.
Come with me. Take the tips of my fingers.
Interlace the leaves and set down
your sword, your wand.
You have no need for all the people
who make up your mind.

Milwaukee writer Jenny Benjamin’s new novel spans hundreds of years and thousands of miles.