Joe Benevento grew up in Richmond Hill, Queens, New York, in a working class neighborhood, the fifth of seven children in a loving, Italian-American home. That home, that family and that neighborhood formed the basis and backbone of much of his writing in both poetry and fiction. Joe says the neighborhood eventually experienced “white flight,” but his family stayed, so he had the fairly unique opportunity to be the only non-white in a peer group of black and Latino friends. After twelve years in parochial schools, he attended NYU, majoring in English and Spanish and doing well enough to be named to Phi Beta Kappa. From there he moved to Ohio State for an MA degree and Michigan State for his Ph.D. Since 1983 he has lived in a small town in Missouri and has taught American literature and creative writing at Truman State University where he is also poetry editor of the Green Hills Literary Lantern. https://ghll.truman.edu/submissions/
He married a small town Missouri woman about 30 years ago and they have four wonderful children.
Joe says he writes mostly because he feels the need to express his feelings, his beliefs, and sense of humor. He wants his poetry to be accessible and straightforward as he feels too many writers, especially poets these days, don’t follow that same guideline. Joe has published fourteen books, including Expecting Songbirds, Selected Poems, 1983-2015, and his writings have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and journals.
Sudden Rain My student who often arrives late today also arrives wet, amazing me, since when I left my office, one of the few with a big window, it was white clouds, blue sky, some sun. People are reading each other's poems, so no one minds as I slip out to find how wet it is getting, since the guy grading our yard in hopes of halting our periodic basement pond, stopped when four inches of rain crashed at once on his big yellow Caterpillar. He can't come back until all the mud dries back to earth. So when I open the door to my office for the best look at this latest dampening to my modest hopes, I'm embarrassed by the rainbow, brightening across campus, humbling as any undeserved present, and I see a student I like, sitting, waiting to talk to someone else and I invite: "Want to see a rainbow?" He smiles and notices there are actually two, just a little piece of sky apart, which I had missed at first, but which, nonetheless were really there all the time.
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