Ben Berman’s witty, brainy, soulful look at writing-while-parenting will speak to every parent—and every writer—committed to understanding the way that having kids raises the stakes for—and loosens the reins of—how we speak and write. What we blurt out, what we write down, the letters we help our children form, and those we hold ourselves back from forming for them—all matter. Every writer speaks to posterity, but Berman shows how parenthood brings that message—literally—home.
—Elisa New, director and host of Poetry in America
Writing While Parenting, Ben Berman’s wonderful new collection, is a striking work of wit, wisdom, and authenticity. His narratives read like micro-memoirs: deep meditations on marriage and family in dramatic structures “between song and thought.” In addressing daily routines, dinner dates, and making M&M pancakes, these essays, like poetry, intertwine “imprecise meanings and [a] tangling of tones.” This collection is as much about parenthood as it is process. For the writer, it is a reminder to see opportunity in every moment. I am enamored with Berman’s care and precision with language and meaning. These essays are full of surprises, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary at every turn.
—January O’Neil, author of Rewilding
Ben Berman’s collection reveals a writer who is an astute reader, one situated within the community of literature, referencing other texts in ways dialogic and fruitful to us, readers of his text. Here Berman knits a kinship of the poetic, the philosophical, the etymological, and the revelatory in essays remarkable for their scope, surprises, and sheer delights. The fundamental kinship of family and its metaphors are the beautiful beating heart of this book, and Berman’s skill as a storyteller gives that heart amazing life.
—Danielle Legros Georges, Boston Poet Laureate, 2015–2019