Visitations, Difficulties, and Discovering the Light Within by John Bensko

My poem “Difficulties,” published in the March 2002 issue of the North American Review, is about pine knots and recently appeared in my book Visitations, winner of the Scharf Award from The University of Tampa Press. The poem captures a bygone process as part of the theme of visitations, in which people, landscapes, art, animals, and such processes resonate with each other across time and space to reflect how small physical aspects of our lives may take on a larger emotional and spiritual importance. The pine knots, with their dense resin, were once burned for reading at night because of the bright, intense flame they produced. I started writing the poem by focusing on that historical reality, and the poem evolved into more as the knots asserted themselves as a difficult physical presence, a body like my own, coming into consciousness.


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