Bio Pic3 2018

BENJAMIN CUTLER is an award-winning poet and author of the full-length book of poetry, The Geese Who Might be Gods (Main Street Rag, 2019). His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times and has appeared or is forthcoming in The Carolina Quarterly, Zone 3, Tar River Poetry, Verse Daily, and EcoTheo Review, among many others. Benjamin is also an English teacher at Swain County High School in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina where he lives with his family and frequents the local rivers and trails.

An Invitation to Light

By Benjamin Cutler

What is distance but a failure
of light?—light pulled

to its listless terminus, a rope
grown heavy with reaching. Take,

for instance, the third and fourth folds
of mountain: how they pale

like lips bruised blue with need
of breath; how, from my distant seat

behind this window, these peaks lose
laurels and pines, rivers and vines:

courageous greens that never feared 
to be so gray.

And what of your window?—where
the light fails me entirely, where

you read these lines 
despite this failing. Friend:

let us tie each frayed photon
into a new, far-reaching braid.

Light needs such quiet, gentle work.

(Originally published in The Shore)


  • Still: The Journal 2018 Poetry Contest, Finalist/”Judge’s Choice”
  • North Carolina Poetry Society 2019 Carol Bessent Hayman Poetry of Love Award, 1st Place
  • North Carolina Poetry Society 2019 Poetry of Witness Award, 1st Place
  • 2019 Susan Laughter Meyers Poetry Fellowship
  • Barren Magazine 2019 Poetry Contest, 2nd Place
  • North Carolina Poetry Society 2020 Mary Ruffin Poole American Heritage Award, 1st Place
  • Caldwell Arts 2020 Poetry Contest, 3rd Place & Honorable Mention
  • Beloit Poetry Journal 2021 Chad Walsh Chapbook Series Contest, Finalist