IN THIS SWEET debut collection of love poems, What Are the Men Writing in the Sugar?, Matty Bennett puts a first serious gay relationship on a pedestal to admire it from every angle. Bennett, a self-described Millennial, isn’t reflecting on a relationship that happened long ago, but reporting on one in real time (at least two of the poems seem to have made their debuts on Instagram). “We have woken up 10,000 times./ I have inspected your neck just a few hundred,” Bennett writes in “Display of Affection.” What the poems lack in the wisdom of experience they compensate for in immediacy and giddiness of feeling. This is a poet who values love, who is in love, and who wants to be in love even when he isn’t. (At the outset of an earlier relationship, he describes his plans to write a poem after every date; the third one is titled “Breakup.”)
Michael Quinn reviews books in a monthly column for the Brooklyn newspaper The Red Hook Star-Revue and at mastermichaelquinn.com.