Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

As a child, I think I understood that sitting down to read together was a luxury and an honor, even if I didn’t fully understand why we had to sit under a blanket of literary gloom, like a lead apron in our laps.

A part of me was pleased to have my manifesto endorsed by a psychiatrist.

In Beartown Fredrik Backman once again unites a world of diverse readers with two simple questions: What happens when people live according to expectations, and what happens when they don’t?

The narrative in Ben Berman’s collection, Figuring in the Figure, 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.


You breathe it in, but you want to hold your breath. There’s always an edge to joy. It doesn’t last. He trips over the garden hose. The seatbelt digs into his incision. His heart rate is still too high. The joy spins away, torn from your fingers. Sometimes you don’t even notice it until it’s gone. Other times, you feel the height of it – the pure belly-jiggling elation. You want to live in that moment of joy – bury your face in it. You want every last syrupy-sliding bite. You want to hold onto it so much that you risk losing it altogether.

Love, like loss, doesn't reside in memory. It doesn't reside in words or even in story, though those come a bit closer. I know because I've watched a little girl grieve and love a man she has no real memory of.


My father is a skilled con man with a deft ear for music, an infectious laugh, and, for several years after my parents' divorce, was my closest companion.


My father recognized the truth before I was ready to accept it; he couldn't leave the assisted facility without help, and he never would.

Always have a long-term project and do a little each chance you get. Make sure it takes years, he admonished my sister and me. A project you never think you'll finish.

We needed a manifesto.


I’m using the opportunity of this Father’s Day to thank all the dads who take the time to nurture a love of books and reading in their children.

Lice shampoo stings the nose like bad medicine. My / wife Pam combs the nits out of her hair.


Let your twoness / / enter in with its undertow / and verbiage. Let the backward / / sentences matriculate faster / than an incoming freshman.


There is little to be said / on the mornings her mother sleeps.


My father would slip a five-dollar / bill in the giant paper bag lunches / / he fixed.


Every time we greeted / you’d pinch my cheek / hard, too hard for the tease / you meant it to be.


I get my news in the morning and it’s / all in the sound of the cutlery.

Tomas Moniz discusses zines and what "rad dad" means to him.


Geffrey Davis talks about the process of finding forgiveness, creating a working collaboration, and being a father.


Berman discusses his current work's title, the interplay between language and meaning, and how parenting has influenced his poetry.

Ben Berman's collection, Figuring in the Figure begins in 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.


In Beartown Fredrik Backman unites a world of diverse readers with two simple questions: What happens when people live according to expectations, and what happens when they don't?