A Brief Interview with Ben Purkert

                      Ben Purkert will be reading at the  Difficult to Name Reading Series  on August 6.

                     Ben Purkert will be reading at the Difficult to Name Reading Series on August 6.

Are you doing anything special in August?

Sweating deadlines. Also: plain ole sweating.  

What have you worked on in the past year that you're most happy with?

Not to be a downer, but "happy" is such a difficult word for me. It carries a lot of obligation: we are supposed to be happy; we should be happy. (For musings on joy, here's a breathtaking interview with Max Ritvo.) I think one of the things I love most about poetry is that it embraces the full range of emotions without prioritizing one over another. Often I'm happiest with my work when it overwhelms me with sadness. What's the word for how that feels?

This past year I've tried writing fiction for the first time, and I'm proud of myself for taking on the challenge. In some ways, it feels inherently poetic -- moving between genres is a kind of leap, a kind of recklessness. 

What can people expect from your reading?

I'm *usually* good about not going over! If you have lavish dinner plans after the reading, feel free not to cancel them.