Musician Benjamin Del Shreve Calls Poetry 'Holy'

For the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective

Courtesy Photo Benjamin Del Shreve

Courtesy Photo
Benjamin Del Shreve

Through an electronic technique called “looping,” Fayetteville musician Benjamin Del Shreve can both record and, even more amazingly, perform while playing five different instruments — the ukulele, mandolin, acoustical guitar, electric base and electric lead guitar. Plus the cajon drum. But wait! There’s more. Del Shreve also fronts a five-human rock band called “Benjamin Del Shreve.”

And he’s a poet.

The multitalented Benjamin Del Shreve will be the Featured Writer at the next monthly session of the Ozarks Poets and Writers Collective. 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 25 at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. There is no charge, and the public is warmly invited. Books, beer and wine, coffee and tea, as well as Del Shreve’s CDs will be available for purchase.

Poetry, Del Shreve says, comes from a very different part of his brain than music does. Even different from where lyrics come from. He gives as an example a poem he wrote in Orlando back in 2004, a poem he describes as almost “pretty.” But years later, the music came to him, and the poem changed to song lyrics and became what he now calls “a rock song with attitude.”

“Poetry is holy,” Del Shreve says, while music comes from a different place, even from a different personality. Music, he says, is neither good nor bad, just “an individual celebrating what is occurring.”

Tall, full-bearded, full-earring’d and for that matter nicely capped, Del Shreve looks the part of a troubadour, someone who roamed the world — the redwoods of California, the Bahamas, Europe — during the early 2000s, someone who plays 250 gigs a year. He grew up home-schooled in Hatfield, Arkansas, a community of 410 folks near Mena.

His parents were Christian missionaries to the biker community, and, musically, he is largely self-taught. (His brother Randall — also well-known in the Fayetteville music scene — gave him his first and only lesson on the bass guitar: “If you’ve got the wrong note, then that way is higher and that way is lower.”) Now Benjamin Del Shreve has three albums out — one using looping, one with a full acoustic band, and one with a five-piece rock band — and a book of poems on the way.

Del Shreve takes great pride as well in his involvement in the organization Musicians Inspiring Children (, and his work with the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter and the Yvonne Richardson Community Center.

Please join the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective as we welcome Benjamin Del Shreve and his many talents to the front Nov. 25 at Nightbird Books. Before and after his performance there will be the usual open microphone, where members of the community are invited to share four minutes of poetry, prose, memoir or what-have-you with a friendly and encouraging audience. As always, we remind that the OPWC does not censor the microphone and the themes can be adult, the language rough. Please join us.

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