For the Love of Endings

Ben Purkert. Four Way, $15.95 trade paper (74p) ISBN 978-1-945588-05-1
Purkert refracts the world’s subtle strangeness through an upside-down anthropological lens in his perceptive debut. Divided into three sections, the book largely features short, concise poems that draw upon the American landscape and commercial language. The collection pings with delightful precision between the objects that connect people and those that divide, “like a space bar pushing us farther apart/ on the page.” In one poem, “two mirrors stare into each other/ & start a family,” while in another Purkert observes, in a tone both clinical and deadpan, that “when person A splits from B, silence walks into the room.” Hearts are “always/ buried in one chest/ or another,” Purkert writes, recognizing the near-futility of trying to describe heartbreak. Instead, he generates odd and surprisingly touching metaphors for the experience: “A watermelon, a half-off watermelon, it’s over:/ because I love the seeds, I spit them out.” And after getting cut off by a Jeep with a “Live In The Moment!” bumper sticker, he notes that “The past suffers from anxiety, too.” Throughout, Purkert balances distance and connection, relationship and anonymity. He gets to the real heart of things in the title poem: “so much depends on you, reader. Look how these words lean on you, not even knowing your name.” (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
Release date: 03/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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