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In Company, Poems by Kate Bernadette Benedict
The office of poet is not usually considered to be compatible with office work, yet Kate Benedict has shown the two can be artfully combined in her collection In Company.
“Business poetry: not an oxymoron. But how do you get it right? How do you reveal the spirit of work, the unspoken connection between people, the community of it, the joy and grief, the anger and love, the celebration and disappointment, the absurd and the noble—all of that—without being either maudlin or trite? With In Company, Kate Bernadette Benedict not only proves it can be done but also how well it can be done.”—James Autry
“The best work poets immerse us in the sensual detail of a specific workplace, simultaneously infusing the depiction of that job with an awareness of the big picture, of what’s at stake for those who experience this employment. Kate Bernadette Benedict in In Company impressively accomplishes all this, and more. As we might expect from someone whose work record includes years employed by a publisher and by a financial corporation, she combines a mastery of words and an insider’s sharp eye to portray contemporary office work—including cubicles, corridors, high-rise window views, and a rigid pecking order—in a fresh and enthralling way. The poems ring with Benedict’s love of words—here are villanelles, sonnets, internal rhyme as well as free verse responses to corporate life, from ‘team-building’ river raft excursions to the humdrum of tending photocopiers. The writer’s perky but perceptive attitude, along with searingly honest self-examination, is what gets her through the work world from temp assignments to entry-level toil to an office on the 29th floor to being ‘let go.’ And her skills with language take us along with her.”—Tom Wayman
“Kate Bernadette Benedict has done the impossible. She has written a collection of poems about office work and made it beautiful and somehow ennobling. Anyone can write about Tuscany. It takes a real poet to find inspiration in the everyday reality of working people. I see Kate shouldering her (ladylike) way through the crowd of yuppie poet-academics, carrying this book, saying, ‘Yes, there is poetry in these experiences too.’”—Rose Kelleher
“‘Who’d have thought it? Lurking there, beside the receptionist’s desk, next to your computer, amid the potted window plants, even there at the mirror in the women’s bathroom is—the poet! Embodying thirty years of office work experience, Kate Bernadette Benedict’s In Company is an exploration in finely crafted verse of what lies below the surface of the corporate quotidian. ‘Profit is what I cultivate/in this green building of hermetic glass,’ she writes, with characteristic elegance, ‘with the perfect symmetry of the crystal/and a crystal’s fine sterility.’ Enter the building, however, and you will find Eros everywhere. On the job answering phones one day, the poet is ravished repeatedly by a demon lover. The lover was poetry, and there’s been no turning back. Open this book and be similarly ravished.’”—David M. Katz
ISBN: 978-1936370580, 86 pages, $18.00