ARCHIVE FOR provoking thought

Let's Do The Twist

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My four-year-old is not exactly a huge sports fan.


Toss her a football, and she’ll stuff it under her shirt and announce that she’s having a baby. Ask about her spirit animal, and she’ll tell you that she is a delicate butterfly. Sometimes, when she’s supposed to be brushing her teeth, I’ll catch her singing in front of the bathroom mirror, I’m a pretty flower, such a pretty flower.

February 10, 2016 | Ben Berman

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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

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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

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It takes the Oxford English Dictionary 26 pages to define the word set, and I’ve found that exploring the various meanings of a word allows us to contemplate our own multitudes and contradictions in interesting ways.


Lately, I’ve been thinking about how much my relationship to writing is contained within the many definitions of the word practice.

July 9, 2015 | Ben Berman

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Parenthood and Modern Lit

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Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days, wrote Flannery O’Connor. But while surviving childhood might very well qualify us to become writers, it is surviving parenthood that truly prepares us to become great readers.


For the first half of the twentieth century, the modernists offered us visions of a world filled with chaos and futility, something I don’t think I really understood until I became a father and experienced months of sleepless nights, endless domestic chores and piles of soiled onesies.


But even more important than ...

June 11, 2015 | Ben Berman

provoking thought