ARCHIVE FOR Ben Berman
In this post, GrubStreet Instructor Ben Berman reflects on the importance of flexible thinking during the creative process.
On the very same day that my older daughter was born, my grandmother died. I have always wanted to write about this but for some reason I have never been able to figure out how.
At first, I thought it might lend itself to a philosophical meditation on liminality and what it means to simultaneously navigate birth and death or perhaps some sort of spiritual piece on the deep connections between generations.
The problem, though, was that the ideas ...
November 13, 2019 | Ben Berman
In this post, GrubStreet Instructor Ben Berman looks at how describing images in a poem can help you reveal the speaker’s mindset.
In her book, On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation, Alexandra Horowitz walks around the block with eleven different experts, demonstrating how what we see is determined by who we are
In this post, Ben Berman looks at the importance of embracing contradictions and mixed emotions when writing poems.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the great researcher of creativity, has written a lot about conflict and dialectical tensions in his research on creative personality traits. In his study of some of the most eminent creators of the 20th Century (Nobel Prize winners in every field of study), he found that many of these people shared what he called antithetical traits, and he grouped these into ten categories.
According to Csikszentmihalyi, creative people often exhibit these paradoxical traits – they ...
September 11, 2019 | Ben Berman
In this post, GrubStreet instructor Ben Berman discusses how learning to think flexibly can help us be more creative.
Flexible thinking refers to our ability to shift or reframe how we are thinking about an idea.
When psychologists measure one’s aptitude for creativity, they often focus on this aspect of thinking. How many uses can you find for a brick? they ask, before grading the responses based on fluency, originality, flexibility and elaboration.
August 14, 2019 | Ben Berman
In this post, GrubStreet Instructor Ben Berman discusses the importance of attending to both form and content when composing and reading poems.
The other day I asked my eight-year-old what would be the first thing that she would buy if she had her own money. I’m not sure, she said, but it definitely wouldn’t be anything made out of plastic because that’s bad for the earth, and I think I’d want something that would keep me healthy.