John Bensko won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award for his first book, Green Soldiers (Yale UP 1981). He has published three more volumes of poetry, The Waterman's Children (U of Massachusetts Press 1994), The Iron City (U of Illinois Press 2000), Visitations (U Tampa Press 2014) (winner of the Anita Claire Scharf Award), and a collection of short stories, Sea Dogs (Graywolf Press 2004).
His work has been anthologized in The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry; A New Geography of Poets; The Morrow Anthology of Younger American Poets; and The Yale Younger Poets Anthology.
His awards include a Fulbright Professorship in American Literature at the Universidad de Alicante, Spain; the McLeod-Grobe Poetry Prize from Poetry Northwest; an Editors Choice Award from The Sonora Review for the short story "The Ocean"; and a Lifetime Achievement Literature Award from the Germantown (TN) Arts Alliance.
A Professor of English at the University of Memphis, he teaches in the Creative Writing program. Through the U of M Study Abroad Office, he has launched a summer creative writing program in creative writing at the Universidad de Alicante, Spain.