Trashy Lit

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When I was in high school, I’d spend my weekends rummaging through the book swap at the local dump, convinced that one man’s litter was another man’s literature.


The books were housed in an old musty shed under a large sign that said Free Books, which I liked to think of as a command – all those trapped classics staring at me like puppies at the pound.

April 9, 2015 | Ben Berman

Love and Poetry

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Whenever I’d ask my grandmother how she made one of her famous dishes, she’d look at me and say: the only ingredient you need is love.


This always drove me crazy, partly because I still believed back then that cooking was a matter of mixing the right ingredients together, and partly because I’d watched her spend full mornings mixing and rolling and pinching and folding and knew that her delicately layered strudel required a lot more than a little love.

March 12, 2015 | Ben Berman

Brain Storms

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A poet, wrote Randall Jarrell, is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times.


Maybe it’s just the season that’s upon us but to me the creative process feels a lot less like standing in thunderstorms waiting for lightning than trudging through snow, desperately trying to clear a path.

February 12, 2015 | Ben Berman

A Poet's Resolution

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Because most nights, these days, I’m asleep by 9:30, one of my resolutions this year was to be more spontaneous.


So when my brother called and invited me up to Maine for the New Years’ Polar Bear Plunge, I said yes, because this was just the kind of idiotic thing that spontaneous people do.


The problem was, though, that it happened to be abnormally warm – sixty-degrees and sunny – on the day my brother called

January 8, 2015 | Ben Berman

The Writing Life

Mother May I

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Because I tend to write in the mornings and play with my daughters in the evenings, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between children's games and the writing process.

Most of the time, the link is a bit of a stretch.

Hide and seek has potential to offer some common ground – writing, after all, is a process of discovery – but there are only a few good hiding spots in our condo, and my three-year-old is content to hide in the exact same spot ten times in a row.

December 11, 2014 | Ben Berman