Poems from Field Requiem appeared in The Forward Book of Poetry 2023, The Paris Review, PN Review, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Review, and Brick, among other places. Field Requiem was shortlisted for The Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award.
Sheri grew up on a farm in central Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory. She completed a PhD at the University of Glasgow and currently lives in Saskatoon where she teaches.
"Incantatory, rich with lived detail, Field Requiem's ceremony of naming resists the 'terrible forgetting' that's led Saskatchewan to a dangerous present and that threatens a bleaker future. Sheri Benning knows that love of place requires attention to all of it - to its history and to its dead, to sublimity and devastation, 'matted pasture grass / where a deer has lain' alongside Intercontinental Packers and the 'chemical burnoff after frost'. 'How strange', she writes, 'to find oneself at the end of it all'. This is a work of devotion, a lament and a prayer, an urgent, heartbroken, and beautiful book."
- Karen Solie
The Season's Vagrant Light:
New & Selected Poems
"These poems stop the heart and recharge the senses…They seem to be teaching language fresh tricks of reception to catch the quick of experience."
- Don McKay
"Empathy and compassion are intellectual nourishment in this work, which at the same time fiercely contemplates how we are, even when among others, our own relentless companions."
- Karen Solie
Thin Moon Psalm
“...Sheri Benning performs an uncanny trick: she uses words as a means of hearing as well as saying things. As we read her graceful generous poems we join with her in drinking the world in – its darkness and loveliness and nameless potencies.”
- John Steffler
“…[T]he prairie landscape and sky-world, the temporality of passionate human connection; the physicality of memory and grief are the deep streams of metaphor this book engages. Sheri Benning is a marvel of a poet.”
- Sharon Thesen
Earth After Rain
“This first book of poems shows striking sensitivity to the verve and resonance of words, with openness to sensual and exploratory language…”
- Erin Mouré
“Sheri Benning's poems are born alive on the page; they're surprising, fresh, evocative of prairie landscape and bursting with emotional intelligence. I feel both smarter and wiser after entering her world…”
- Susan Musgrave
'Field Requiem is [Benning's] darkest, fiercest, most powerful work. To call it an elegy would be excessively gentle. It would be to disregard the phantasmagoric violence churning under the surface and sporadically rupturing it.'
- Warren Heiti, Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review
'The reason the death of the colonial experiment on the Prairies should focus our attention is what has killed it: mechanized greed on a scale that is almost unimaginable.'
- Jan Zwicky, The Fiddlehead
'These fierce precisions are underscored with a perfect eye for detail. This is a writer who has noted and weighed everything and understands its loss. Field Requiem is a passionate work.'
- George Szirtes, The Poetry Review
'Benning is sensitive to the warp of memory as well as its weft...There's grief here which belies Benning's beautiful syntax, but also the love that makes recuperation her project: it must be possible to remember everything.'
- Imogen Cassels, Times Literary Supplement
'While its environmental critique is important, what makes this collection so exquisite is Benning’s precise evocations of a land where "all flesh is grass" and "[p]lace, in its mercy, holds all.'"
- David Woo, Harriet Books
'...An exceptional book which commingles duty and love, herbs and elbow grease...Benning utilises the lyric's potential for time-travel, for resurrection, throughout the book, shoring up everything she can't bear to lose - or at least to accept is gone.'
- Declan Ryan, Poetry Birmingham