How does it feel to lose your planet, your lover, yourself? Ben Purkert’s debut collection, For the Love of Endings, tests what connects us to this earth and to each other. His brilliantly crafted poems examine “the gap / between the world & how / people paint it: dark, distant, there / for the taking.” He makes us look at our disintegrating world head on and see what we’ve done to it, and what it has done to us.
“The Words I Failed To Be” from For the Love of Endings:
“…If human life becomes extinct on our planet, I want this book to float out into the cosmos to reach future and existing forms of intelligence—to let them know there was at least one beautiful/difficult, dark/brilliant side to us earthlings.”—Brenda Shaughnessy
“In his striking and inventive debut, Ben Purkert writes lyrical riffs about twenty-first century loneliness. His language is always striking sparks, alighting on both the poignant and the haunting: ‘When our minds wander, they go alone.’ In these poems consolation is in the distance, but their linguistic pleasures are skin-close. For the Love of Endings is a tremendous beginning. It marks the arrival of a singular voice.”—Eduardo C. Corral
“…For the Love of Endings is an arresting debut. Purkert is unembarrassed by the minor key, the mindbending yet subtle shift. A swift, funny, tender scenemaker (‘sword toothpicks in Swiss cubes’), Purkert invokes his ex, maps his mind, and in the title sequence offers a mini ars poetica….These are compact yet aerated poems, studded by the detritus of the contemporary—Coke labels, microwaves, computer screens, billboards—yet grounded in the breakable heart….This is a poetry that makes a place for the tangential, the trace, the touch, a tomorrow.”—Maureen N. McLane
“Purkert refracts the world’s subtle strangeness through an upside-down anthropological lens in his perceptive debut….The collection pings with delightful precision between the objects that connect people and those that divide…” Read the full review.
“…The unique, unsettling mix of clarity and dread throughout is what will bring readers back and back to this book. Purkert couches impossible questions in the syntax of answers, avowing that ‘not even a snapped // branch can fly / back where it began’ in a way that feels more like a plea to return the broken branch to its tree than an acceptance of its severing. For the Love of Endings is trying to stare down irrevocability, trying to love the ending. Every line is constructed in such a way that it could be the last line, as though the speaker knows we may have little time together….” Read the full review.
“Ben Purkert’s For the Love of Endings is quiet until it isn’t. It invites the reader to follow along as each poem questions what’s left to celebrate right up until it demands her to be accountable. The collection is a balancing act between tranquility and ire against the world’s dying light….” Read the full review.
“…Purkert highlights a familiar paradox of human life. We are both radically connected to, and yet disconnected from, our physical bodies….it is natural to be curious about these internal objects — to wonder what our bones look like or what our gallbladder is doing at this very moment….” Read the full review.