About the Book

“Equal part prayer and potion and survival guide, Oliver Baez Bendorf’s remarkable Advantages of Being Evergreen is an essential book for our time and for all time. With rigorous compassion and great formal dexterity Bendorf imagines a new world for all of our animal selves in which we are truly seen and truly safe. At the same time these are poems that never shy from the shocking violence and cruelty of this world. I don’t know when I’ve read a book that is so gentle and ferocious at the same time. Over and over again people come together to make their individual and communal body whole, knowing all the while that so much of the world seeks to wreck even the simplest kinds of safety. Baez Bendorf is making a future grammar for the moment all of our vessels are free and held. I am living for the world these poems anticipate. And I’m so happy to be held by them in the times that keep coming on this endless road to safety. This is a book of the earth’s abiding wonder. And the body’s unbreakable ability to bloom.”

Gabrielle Calvocoressi, author of Rocket Fantastic

Check out these excerpts from Advantages of Being Evergreen:

“Evergreen” (Academy of American Poets)

“River I Dream About” (American Poetry Review)

“Ritual” (Black Warrior Review)

“ghost ship novena inside a year-long funeral” (BOAAT)

“The Carp” and “Web” (West Branch)

Author Bio

Oliver Baez Bendorf is the author of a previous collection, The Spectral Wilderness, selected by Mark Doty for the Stan & Tom Wick Poetry Prize, and a chapbook, The Gospel According to X. He is an assistant professor of poetry at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

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Library of Congress

Interview with Oliver Baez Bendorf

“I was thinking about things that might look alike but are not exactly alike and how each one of those data points again is a way in. Those questions that I got interested in – ‘Is the pattern the story or is the story where the pattern breaks?’–  I think of it almost like a prompt to someone who might want to interact with data.”


Feature on Oliver Baez Bendorf

“As a queer and trans person, I was afraid of being in certain places. I encountered my own ideas about safety and danger, and realizing that, for the most part, other people are also just trying to live their lives and are curious.”

"Bone Dust" by Oliver Baez Bendorf
Oliver Baez Bendorf reads his poem "Bone Dust"