The interrelated short prose pieces in Ben Berman’s Then Again explore a life outside of chronological order, bounce back and forth between foreign adventures and domestic routines. One moment we’re in a Mommy and Me yoga class, the next we’re gutting a goat in rural Zimbabwe. As much a meditation on language as a coming to terms with middle age, these stories navigate the distance between words and worlds.
"In this sharply-observed, vulnerable, and witty series of triptychs – which span an ocean and the seasons of a life – Ben Berman slyly explores fragmentation and disconnection as the core of who we are. In fact, the many pleasures of this book lie not in one unifying idea, but in its re-considerations, its insightful flashes of insight into manhood, fatherhood, and the crossing of cultures."
-- Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men
In Ben Berman's second full-length collection, Figuring in the Figure, poems laden with aphorisms, puns, and witticisms meditate on shapes, angles, thinking about thinking, marriage, and the joys and trials of bringing a daughter into the world, among others. Sometimes with a Frostian spirit, sometimes with a touch of Zen, the known is questioned and wisdom gleaned from daily experience.
"The narrative in this collection leads to a father's witness of his infant daughter's first discoveries of herself, yet it begins in another stage of life—a young man's post-collegiate drift, aching for the shape of a self and a life that he will come to find in unanticipated forms. "It’s better to figure things in than out," Berman writes in "Figures," and his collection tells the story of a life and art that could bear that line as a credo." --Andew Bode-Lang, Literary Mama
Strange Borderlands, Ben Berman’s first full-length collection, counterpoises insights with uncertainties while chronicling the poet's immersion in a new culture. In compelling metrical, free verse and prose poems, Berman provides a vivid narrative of exotic adventures, especially his Peace Corps service in Zimbabwe―the people, the land, and his “struggling with the blurred lines of where things end” on his return home. This distinctive collection can go from humorous to heartbreaking, and is spellbinding from start to finish―a rare achievement.
"Throughout the collection, Berman's images sear the brain with their often-perplexing otherness, while his openness to new cultures and peoples help readers understand how beautiful the world's strangeness can be. This is a must-have book for readers of poetry."
--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review