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"Reflective in nature, these poems use form--from slant-rhyming couplets to prose poems--to limn the tensions of readjustment, and mine memory for stories that keep the author rooted to a place that will forever and never be his. 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
"Ben Berman's riveting first poetry collection, Strange Borderlands... poignantly conveys an insistent and nettlesome remembering, a half-wild entertaining of meaning, along with an unsettled understanding that there might not be any." Jan Worth-Nelson, Peace Corps Writers
"In this collection of poems inspired by his experiences in Zimbabwe as a Peace Corps volunteer, Ben Berman manages to capture the ephemeral quality of cultural collisions. Sometimes humorous, sometimes soul wrenching, these poems explore the edges of difference with a wry and tender voice." World Literature Today
"What I admire most about these poems, beyond their intense imagery and the tensions constructed between dark and light, is the clear love and respect this poet demonstrates for his subject matter. There is a human scale to each poem that helps the reader walk the trails of this landscape however unfamiliar they may have been until that moment." Miriam O'Neal, Ragazine
"Laughter is everywhere in the people and in the humor unearthed even from the misery many of these poems describe--it becomes a language of its own...The misjudgments and gaffes that result in the constant battering of Berman in Zimbabwe end up creating a surety, a line of communication, a bulwark against all that threatened to collapse." Valerie Duff-Strautmann, Salamander Magazine
About the Author
Ben Berman is the author of Strange Borderlands (Able Muse Press), which won the 2014 Peace Corps Writers Award for Best Poetry Book and was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. He has received awards from the New England Poetry Club and fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Somerville Arts Council. He is the Co-Poetry Editor at Solstice Literary Journal and he teaches in the Boston area where he lives with his wife and two daughters. You can visit him at ben-berman.com
“Strange Borderlands” is the best book of poetry I have ever read. Ben Berman's poetry is deeply moving, raw, funny, engaging, sad, and insightful. Strange Borderlands touches upon a variety of life issues through one man’s journey as a peace corps volunteer in a completely foreign land to him. I’m sure Ben’s experiences in Zimbabwe have completely changed his life, and I am thankful for his vulnerability in sharing his beautiful poetry with the world. Amazing writing. I highly recommend this book to all. Everyone should read it.
If you have it, you don't need it. If you need it, you don't have it. If you have it, you need more of it. If you have more of it, you don't need less of it. You need it, to get it. And you certainly need it, to get more of it. But if you don't already have any of it to begin with, you can't any of it to get started, which means you really have no idea how to get it in the first place, do you? You can share it...sure...you can even stockpile it if you'd like, but you can't fake it. Wanting it, needing it, wishing for it.....the point is...if you've never had any of it...ever....people just seem to know.