Writer; teacher of writing. Born– November 28, 1949, Birmingham. Parents– John Jr. and Patricia Blanton Bensko.  Married– Rosemary Collins, May, 1980.  Children–one.  Married– Cary Holladay.  Education– University of Alabama, B.A., 1973, M.F.A., 1979;  FSU, Ph.D., 1985. Taught on a temporary part-time basis at the University of Alabama, 1974-80; taught at Old Dominion University  1980-1994; University of Memphis after 1994. Fulbright Professor at the University of Alicante, Spain.  Poems and critical works published in Black Warrior Review, Carolina Quarterly, New Orleans Review and Contemporary Literature in Birmingham. Member MLA, PEN.  Winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition, 1982, for Green Soldiers;  the McLeod-Grobe Poetry Prize in 2000; and the Anita Clare Scharf Award for poetry, 2013.


Contemporary Literature in Birmingham and files at Alabama Public Library Service; University of Memphis website.


Green Soldiers. New Haven; Yale University Press, 1981.

The Iron City: Poems.  Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 2000.

Sea Dogs: Stories.  St. Paul: Graywolf Press, 2004.

Visitations: Poems.  Tampa: University of Tampa, 2014.

The Waterman’s Children.  Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994.