Yet Another Reason not to Marry a Poet

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My four-year-old and I were recently walking to the playground when she noticed a picture of a young girl, not much older than her, hugging a dog.


Aww, she said, what a cute puppy.


I didn’t have the heart to explain why a picture like that would be posted to a telephone pole, and so I smiled and continued walking when she started to sound out the letters in bold on top of the poster.

January 13, 2016 | Ben Berman

Amusements Writing While Parenting

Learning to Mine those Everyday Moments

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I’m between poems this morning, which always makes me feel a little lost and anxious, like a puppy waiting for his owner to return home, so I start flipping through an old notebook where I used to gather inspirational quotes.


Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine, writes Ray Bradbury.  The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.

December 9, 2015 | Ben Berman

provoking thought

The Art of Putting Things Together

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Last night, my two-year-old spent the evening dropping fistfuls of fried rice from her high seat while singing Humpty Dumpty had a great faaaaall!


I probably should have intervened – taken her bowl away or redirected her. At the very least I should have stopped making sound effects every time the rice hit the carpet.


But as a poet, I’ve developed the ability to detach myself from my parental responsibilities and view my kids, instead, as adorable little metaphors.

November 11, 2015 | Ben Berman

Amusements Creativity Writing While Parenting

Narrative's Building Blocks

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My four-year-old is in the living room, playing with magnetic building blocks. She is as focused as I’ve ever seen her, paying as much attention to shapes as to colors, aesthetics as to structure.


But I don’t have a story until I have two stories, wrote Grace Paley, and along comes my two-year-old. It’s as though she’s just finished watching Donnie Darko and is convinced that destruction, too, is a form of creation.

October 14, 2015 | Ben Berman

Amusements Creativity

Where Poems Come From

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Once, driving to New Hampshire for a winter weekend getaway, we’d made it halfway up the mountains when snow started to fall.


My then almost-three-year-old must have noticed how tightly I was gripping the wheel and clenching my jaw and started asking over and over: Are we here yet? Are we here yet? Are we here yet?


Poems, for me, often begin with such tiny slips of language, and her substitution of here for there felt riddled with existential angst, as though she were posing some sort of Buddhist koan.

September 9, 2015 | Ben Berman

provoking thought