November 11th, 2020

Hello friends, nearly a year since the last update, and oh my, what a hard, hard year. A pandemic, forest fires, protests across the country calling for necessary police de-funding and reform, and a presidential election that may have been the most important election in our history as a country. And so much more, bad and good. On the good end of the spectrum, Dana and I got married last November, on my birthday, and though it’s been an incredibly difficult year to “enjoy,” even with the ups and downs, I’m still so grateful to be with her. Joni is still cute as ever, meowing around our apartment. And Dana and I just had a poem, “Tell Me Again” (previously published in Thrush), selected for the Orison Anthology, which chooses “the finest spiritually engaged writing that appeared in periodicals in the preceding year.” Quite an honor. Pick up a copy if you have interest.

November 22nd, 2019

Hello Friends, a bit of news for you. Dana and I moved to Minneapolis a little under two months ago, found ourselves a little spot by a lake, the perfect cat named Joni, and have been settling in nicely. I bought a warm coat, and have already biked more than I did all twelve years I was in Chicago, and the whole time I lived in Nebraska for that matter.

Recently, the wonderful folks over at Bestiary Podcast released an incredible radio play version of Dear Fox, Dear Barn, that I wrote with GennaRose Nethercott back in 2015 at Art Farm. Dana and I also had a few poems published this fall in Pank and Thrush, which I’m so proud of. And Josh and I were included in a great folio over at Nat Brut. If you have a few moments, check them out, and let me know what you think.

May 7th, 2019

It has been too long. And a busy 2019. AWP was in Portland this year, and was wonderful. At the Thoughtcrime Press/Pioneertown Lit booth we caught up with old friends, met so many new ones, and sold more books than ever before. Thanks again to Brenna for sharing space with us. We hosted multiple incredible readings, and I was lucky enough to perform with Josh Gaines and GennaRose Nethercott from our recent collaborations. And to top it all off, waterfalls, and a magical week with the Gaines’ family!

A few weeks later, the humble house hosted GennaRose and her shadow puppet crankie, as part of her 8 month long book tour for The Lumberjack’s Dove. We were so lucky to have her, and this incredible lineup of Chicago authors joining us.

Post house show, I’ve mainly been focused on my new collaborative manuscript with Dana McKenna. We are nearly thirty poems in, and I couldn’t be happier with the work, our process, and to have this humbling opportunity to write with a person I love, respect, and am so very inspired by every day.

Oh, and the 2nd editions of both of these little fellas came out this year.


October 4th, 2018

Hello Friends,

it has been too long, but, oh my, do I have something special for you. On October 13th, courtney marie will be traveling up to Chicago to celebrate the release of her amazing chapbook Don’t Get Your Hopes Up. Joining her will be authors fromThoughtcrime Press, Meekling Press, the Unreal Reading Series, Sobotka Lit Mag, and Match Books! And a dance party to follow the reading! Please join us at the humble house for this weirdo extravaganza.

July 23rd, 2017

Oh friends, I’m sorry for the silence. After a wonderful east coast tour with my press-mate Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan (in support of her incredible book Mouthy) I needed time to refocus, to read, to sit and stare at the plants growing in our garden, and to be more present with the lovely humans I keep close. This is not to say I haven’t also kept busy, still editing with the beauties over at Muzzle, and helping out Captain Josh Gaines and Thoughtcrime Press with a bunch of amazing new projects coming out this year: the Not My President Anthology, and four new authors joining the Thoughtcrime family through the Lorien Prize Chapbook Contest. I’m really proud of the books we’ll be sharing with you very soon.

In other exiting news, I’ll be a resident at the Art Farm again this year in October, risking it all alongside Josh, and Rebecca Elliott of Meekling Press fame. So thrilled to spend time at my favorite place on earth, writing with/ learning from these two absolute gems. And with the Art Farm, of course, comes Aurora, and friends I’ve known since elementary school, which I assure you, is a long time. I expect some laughter around a campfire, some drinks and conversation, some music, and love, lots of love. Also in October, my good friends’ Brian and Karen are getting married, which I couldn’t be more excited about.

Oh, and maybe the most humbling news, Thoughtcrime has decided to publish a second edition of if you turn around I will turn around, in a slightly different shape, and with an update to the artwork. I’m very lucky, and honored to have a press that believes so deeply in this book, and I can’t wait to show you the new version.

March 7th, 2016

I’m thrilled that 12 poems from Dear Fox, Dear Barn, written with Genna-Rose Nethercott, are up over at the Offing. Please take a look if you have a moment. They were written at the Art Farm last summer, and are as much a part of that place as they are me.

February 8th, 2016

A nice, unexpected shout-out from The Culture Trip. I’m honored to be included on this list of 8 “young” poets from Chicago, alongside Jamila Woods, Phillip B. Williams, Malcolm London, Erika L. Sanchez, Danielle Susi, Cassandra Troyan, and Grady Chambers.

February 6th, 2016

GennaRose Nethercott and my chapbook Dear Fox, Dear Barn was a finalist for Black Lawrence’s Black River chapbook competition. A bummer we didn’t win, but an honor to be in such great company. In even more positive (unbelievable) news, we have a suite of twelve poems coming out in The Offing in March. Thanks, of course, to Art Farm for the magic. 

Here’s the full list of finalists and semi-finalists:

FINALISTS (alphabetical)

Retribution Binary by Ruth Baumann (poetry)
Two Good Ears by Leah Browning (fiction)
St. Trigger by Aaron Coleman (poetry)
The Moon is a Wasteland and Other Stories by Daniel DiFranco (fiction)
The Other Body by Raki Kopernik (poetry)
Rumble Jack by Daniel Lynch (fiction)
Makes the Daughter-in-Law Cry by Danielle Mitchell (poetry)
Raju and Kishore by Gaurav Monga (fiction)
Dear Fox, Dear Barn by GennaRose Nethercott and Ben Clark (poetry)
Aluminum Necropolis by Nichole Riggs (poetry)

SEMI-FINALISTS (alphabetical)

These Contracts We Make by Ruth Baumann (poetry)
Mercy for the One Who Sharpens by Julia Bouwsma (poetry)
The Landfill Poems & Others by Patrick Cantrell (poetry)
New Histories by Amanda Chiado (poetry)
Fly Back at Me by Bernard Grant (fiction)
Hey Animal by Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez (poetry)
Thresh by Amy Elisabeth Hansen (poetry)
fifteen facades by Rose Hunter (poetry)
burying the illness corpse by Zoë Koenig (poetry)
Leaving Tracks: A Prairie Guide by Sarah Montgomery (poetry)
Dune Weasel by Caleb Nelson (poetry)
Graveyard, Burning by Amy Newday (poetry)
Arms Strong for Their Tasks: Stories by Dominic Preziosi (fiction)
The Umamist by Marc Sheehan (fiction)
Dust by Sarah Strong (poetry)
Propagation by Lesley Wheeler (poetry)
Blackjack! by Katherine Zlabek (fiction)

November 24th, 2015

An incredibly generous and thorough review of if you turn around I will turn around by Jacob Victorine over at Poets’ Quarterly. I am stunned and humbled by his kind words.

November 17th, 2015

expo house show

Hello friends,

so the Chicago Book Expo is coming up this Saturday, and I’ll be all over the place. If you have a chance, please stop by, snag a book, or just say hello. More than likely I miss you, and want to gift you all my hugs. We’ll be sharing a table again with the beauties over at Meekling Press from 11-5, or rather with a POETRY ROBOT that they’ve built. So there’s that amazingness. I’ll be at the table from 11-12 and 2-5.

From 1-2 I’m super-excited to be joining Re’Lynn Hansen and fellow Thoughtcrime author, Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan, for a reading and panel discussion on Poetic Memoir. Here’s the official info:

Poetic Memoir (Room 835-836; 8th floor of 1104 S. Wabash)
Ben Clark (if you turn around I will turn around), Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan (Mouthy), and Re’Lynn Hansen (To Some Women I Have Known) read from their work and discuss the challenges of writing memoir in poetic forms.

If you can’t stop by during the day, join us later on for the second annual 2015 CHICAGO BOOK EXPO HOUSE SHOW EXTRAVAGANZA, where we’ll have a full lineup of incredible readers with wares and words to share. A big list of readers, so expect some weird, some heart, some brain, some smarts. I can’t wait.

Our current talent list includes:

Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan
Abigail Zimmer Christian
Heather McShane
Suman Chhabra
Elizabeth Tieri
Danielle Susi
Olivia Cronk
Josh Young
Alexis Pope
Dan Ivec
Ben Clark
Anita Koester
Ryan Spooner
Hannah McHugh
Miranda Steffens

As always, with every book purchased, you’ll have your choice of a free beer or shot of whiskey. Bring a friend, grab a floor pillow, and join us!

The Book of Face Invite

November 2nd, 2015

The first review for if you turn around I will turn around is up over at American Micro Reviews. Thanks to Danielle Susi for the kind, intelligent take on the book.

Also, if you’re free this Sunday, November 8th, stop by the Empty Bottle for the Curbside Splendor Pop-up Book Fair. I’ll be helping out at the Meekling Press table and selling my own books as well. The event is free if you RSVP!

September 22, 2015

Hello friends, I’m so very excited and honored to share my new book with you, if you turn around I will turn around, published by the fantastic Thoughtcrime Press. If you can make it out, I promise an incredible reading, hugs, poems from four surprise authors, a video collaboration, and likely many joy tears.

Also reading:
Marty McConnell (author of wine for a shotgun)
Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan (author of Mouthy, forthcoming from Thoughtcrime Press)
Rebecca Elliott (founder of Meekling Press)
Courtney Marie (founder of the Spiderweb Salon)

September 27th
7:30 doors, 8 p.m. start
3020 West George Street #1 (my house)
Free moon postcard (and beer or shot of whiskey) with every book purchased!

And a kind, smart description of the book by Thoughtcrime Press:
Ben Clark’s if you turn around I will turn around is a collection of epistolary poems that explore, question, and document the evolving eighteen year relationship with his closest friend. With elegant, lyrical language, and through a variety of formal structures, including collaboration with other authors and text, Clark crafts a voice uniquely its own. This is both a book of refusal and one of rugged acceptance, a book of forgetting, remembering, and re-imagining, a book that is itself an offering, an exchange of memory, and story, and love. The poems inside meant to honor, to mourn, to celebrate, to retreat into, to mark the space between two lives, and the constant magnetic pull of those lives in opposite directions.

August 9th, 2015

And a book update. It has been a wait for all of us, but thankfully, the first run of 200 have been printed, along with the postcards, metal moon t-shirts, book soundtracks, and two versions of the audio book (one by me, and one by Kate). In a little over a week I’m heading to Seattle, to visit the wonderful Lindsay Peyton, and from there to Portland, where Thoughtcrime Captain Josh Gaines and I will be putting together the kickstarter incentives to send out. I am thrilled and humbled and so incredibly ready for you to hold this book, to read to you from it, and honestly to spend some time with it myself. When I see a copy myself, I will post a ridiculous selfie (likely with tears in my eyes) for all of you.

August 8th, 2015

Sorry for the silence friends. And so much to tell you. As you can imagine, Art Farm was incredible. Better even than last year somehow. The other residents, were wonderful, as much a family as you could ask for, just meeting, and with so little time between us. An immediate and deep bond. Love, support, laughter, interest in and devotion to each other’s work and practice. What an amazing group of ladies. I am a better person for the three weeks we spent together, and still miss them dearly.

All my love for Patricia’s flower gathering and sunset dance direction, for Raluca’s devoted documentation and joy and texts, for Shelby’s beautiful books and our shared popcorn hug, for Joan’s pie and her poem-for-dinner idea, for Carmella’s bread-making and hula-hooping, for Lily’s unicorn swinging and schoolhouse cleaning, for Aimee’s facing of fears and incredible prompts, for Jessica’s “mom” voice and laughter, for Selina’s incredible collages made alongside (with?) the raccoon guests, for Rebecca joining us in the tea house to drink away the storm and for reading with us in the floating barn, for Lindsay’s beautiful smile and the hundred paintings she completed at the farm, and of course for the best collaborator and farmhouse-mate I could have asked for, GennaRose.

We spent our mornings doing all sorts of things: planting trees, setting up raccoon traps/hexes, rebuilding pallet bridges pulled apart by storms, clearing branches, mowing paths, and pulling endless nails from endless planks of wood (somehow my favorite activity by far).

The first few afternoons, GennaRose and I spent exploring the farm with mason jars full of iced coffee or Nebraska Farm Hammers (our own concoction), before settling into our writing routine, and our project together. We finished a 26 poem chapbook between the two of us, set up as a group of letters sent between a fox and a floating barn. It was a revealing project for me, and a freeing one, the poems more “me” than anything I’ve worked on in awhile, but still part of a collaborative work. I’m so happy with them, and can’t wait for you all to read them.

And everything else (but not even, with my poor memory): our trips to Lincoln for pizza and art and Briner’s total destruction/out-playing of the pretty touring band; the Don’t Care Bar; Wenda and Harry and Ernie and espresso shakes at Espressions; for the single greatest jerky-related gift I have ever received from Josh; for late night swimming at Peter’s; for Jeff and Faith and Josh and Angie and George and Dan and Jordan and Mandi and Michael and Laura and Brady and (of course) my parents and the rest of my loving family for continuing to accept me into their lives, and for the time they allowed me in Nebraska. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Most of these photos were taken by the wonder that is Raluca Albu.

mapstudio 2studiofloating barnralucapatricialindsayfriendsart walkstorm

June 1st, 2015

Today is the day friends. Off to the Art Farm with GennaRose for three weeks of writing, reading, art-making, and star-gazing. It has been a wild last few months, preparing for this trip, and finalizing if you turn around I will turn around. With three days to go on our Kickstarter, and closing in on $2000, I’m also humbled by all of your support. And filled with so much joy and relief, this collection of poems being written for, and with, one of the most important people in my life, and in turn, is a book that represents all the best of me. I’m honored to share it with Kate, and with you.

May 5th, 2015

Holy moly! Thoughtcrime’s kickstarter for if you turn around I will turn around is here. If you can help out it, either by donating, pre-ordering the book, or sharing through social media, I will be ever thankful. This collection means so much to me, as it is a collaborative effort: written for my closest friend, written with individuals I absolutely respect and cherish, and edited by some of the most thoughtful eyes and hearts I have ever encountered. I began the book expecting to find only the usual poet’s solitude, and maybe an answer or two about friendship, but instead found a vast and supportive community, and oh so much love. Thank you all.


May 2nd, 2015


Some wonderful news on the writing front. This time next month I’ll be back at Art Farm Nebraska for a second residency, working alongside my close friend and collaborator GennaRose Nethercott. Three weeks of poems, open sky, racoons in the walls, and trips to the Dont Care Bar. Woot woot.

March 25th, 2015

The cover has landed. Thanks to Gwynne Johnson for the beautiful images, and Josh Gaines for the layout. I’m honored and thrilled and so, so grateful.


February 5th, 2015

See you tomorrow night New York.

See you tomorrow night New York.

January 25th, 2015


85 East 4th street,  2nd floor, (East Village) Manhattan, NYC, NY

Sunday, February 8, 2015, 7:PM to 9:PM

Ben Clark grew up in rural Nebraska and now lives in Chicago, Illinois. His first book Reasons To Leave The Slaughter was released by Write Bloody Publishing in 2011. His second collection If you turn around I will turn around is forthcoming from Thoughtcrime Press in early 2015.

Emma Rosenberg is a writer and editor from Boston, MA. Her writing has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Slice Magazine, Guernica, The Rumpus, Fwriction : Review, and others. She is a winner of the Boston Literary Death Match and MassMouth Story Slam. Follow her (sporadically) updated twitter @HomeExperiments.

Eric Berlin grew up in suburban New Jersey in the ’80s with a love for storytelling instilled by his grandmother. He was drawn to poetry partly as a way of coping with her death. He’s been part of an improv troupe in LA, the Poetry MFA at Syracuse University, and the Sculpture MFA at NY Academy of Art, and now lives in upstate NY, where he works as a freelance editor.

Rebekah Bergman’s writing has appeared in Two Serious Ladies, Everyday Genius, Necessary Fiction, Construction, and Tin House’s The Open Bar, among others. Her chapbook of prose poems, “Greeting Cards for Every Occasion,” is forthcoming from White Knuckle Press. Rebekah is an MFA candidate at The New School and the associate editor of NOON. Rebekah lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Zinzi Clemmons is a fiction writer and editor of South African descent. She holds a BA from Brown and an MFA in Fiction from Columbia. Her writing has appeared in Zoetrope: All Story, Transition Magazine, African American Review, and The Common, among others. She has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction, and Columbia University; and scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Fine Arts Work Center, and Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation. She is Co-Founder and Publisher of Apogee, a literary journal on identity and politics. She lives in Upstate NY.

December 1st, 2014

Hello friends,
do I have a treat for you.

Following this year’s Chicago Book Expo make your way over to Logan Square (and my house) to enjoy a free performance by authors from a heap-ton of great presses and organizations including: Thoughtcrime Press, Meekling Press, YesYes Bøøks, Projecttile Lit, Muzzle Magazine, Know Army, EM Press Publishing, Vox Ferus, and more!

How about this sexy list of readers:
Fatimah Asghar
Aricka Foreman
Marty McConnell
Maya Marshall
Tim Stafford
Kevin Kern
Nate Olison
Anne Yoder
John Wilmes
Chelsea Fiddyment
Ben Clark
Rob Hendler
Emilio Maldonado

The reading is free, but bring some cash monies (or credit card) to support your local authors. For every book you buy you will also receive a free shot of whiskey or can of old man beer. No lie.

Show up at 7:00. We’ll start the reading at 8.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of your smiling faces.

July 18th, 2014

Hello friends,
I’m honored and thrilled to announce that my second collection of poetry, if you turn around I will turn around, is being published by the beauties over at Thoughtcrime Press in winter 2014. Following that, our first AWP as a press, and a west coast tour (hopefully with the band Tereshkova). I’m a lucky, lucky man, and so grateful to you wonders of the human race that have supported me, welcomed me into your homes on the road, given feedback in workshops, and hugs when I seemed down. More details soon, but until then know that I’m all beard and love and smiles.

June 13th, 2014

Wish me luck friends. I’m off to the farm.


May 16th, 2014

Hello friends,
it is official, I will be back in Nebraska from June 13th-30th as a resident artist at the Art Farm. This has been a goal of mine since my high school art class visited the farm. I’m looking forward to the family and friends I’m bound to see, the quiet, the open space and the sunsets, meeting the other incredibly talented and diverse resident-artists, and of course, I’m looking forward to two weeks of time to devote to poetry and sound projects. I’m a lucky, lucky beardo.

March 16th, 2014

Hello friends. I’m performing a new contrapuntal, written with the wonderful Laurel Foglia, at the Encyclopedia Show, and would love to see your smiling faces out in the audience, and after the show.


February 10th, 2014

Well, well, well…a recording of me performing over at the Dollhouse. Check it out if you are so inclined. Also, shout-outs to Josh Gaines and Thoughtcrime Press for publishing that beautiful Little Bones book, and Colin Winnette for collaborating with me on the poem/poems in spotlight.

November 18th, 2013

Wowza! I’m the featured poet over at Muzzle Magazine. Check out the pretty, pretty write-up by the wonderful Laura Steadwell.

November 15th, 2013

Hello friends,

it has been too long. My apologies for moving to hermit-town. I miss your beautiful faces.

If you get a chance, check out my new poems released into the wild. One at Leveler and one at Birdfeast.

June 18th, 2013

Little Bones.

May 9th, 2013


Dollhouse! Dollhouse! Dollhouse!

Tour! Tour! Tour!


April 3rd, 2013

We’ve put together an upcoming tour page. Little Bones.

March 17th, 2013

Thank you from the bottom of my beard to all of you who have made our kickstarter project a success! For those of you who haven’t had a chance yet, and still want to help out, there are only six days remaining to donate to the Little Bones Tour.

So far, we have ten tentative tour dates, taking us all the way down to Houston, and back up to Chicago. I will let you know more when shows are more formalized, but rest assured we are chomping at the bit to read you beautiful people some poetry.

January 11th, 2013

Hello friends,

I have been reading a lot more than writing the last few months, and was asked recently for a list of poets/poems that I love. This is the list I came up with. Of course, there are numerous others, and likely better poems by the authors chosen, but nonetheless, wonderful poems by wonderful poets, with links. Enjoy.


40 (ish) Poets:Richard Siken
-you are jeff, scheherazade, and saying your names Orr
-gathering the bones together Stanford
-the light the dead see
-freedom, revolt, and love Finch
-elegy for my father Pegeen Kelly
-song Schomburg
-scary, no scary
-the fire cycle
-from 1977-2050 Bonair-Agard
-defense-1988, 1987 Gilbert
-michiko dead
-tear it down Edwards
-what I mean by ruin is
-goodbye to the poetics of restlessness Hayes
-at pegasus’s guide to the galaxy Komanyaka
-facing it
-please Rooney
-robinson’s telephone rings Howe
-what the living do
-practicing Collins
-the news
-spring Monson
-burn burn
-before vandalism May
-ask what I’ve been
-Athazagoraphobia: Fear of Being Ignored
-pomegranate means grenade Wright
-a blessing Muench
-wolf cento Gay
-how to fall in love with your father
-man tries to commit suicide with a crossbow Girmay
-kingdom animalia
-elegy Kaminsky
-we lived happily during the war Brown
-prayer of the backhanded
-lion Murillo
-practicing fadeaways Harvey
-implications for modern life
-setting the table Harris
-what my fathers taught me Ekiss
-world without birds
-portrait of houdini with wife Morrison
-please advise stop (3 poems) Lee
-the gift
-from blossoms Williams
-I hate Jess
-leadbelly vs. lomax Paul Davis
-winter compline
-myself, with the night on my face Alexie
-defending walt whitman
-grief calls us to the things of this earth Doty
-the embrace Elliott
-experiment # 18, experiment #23
-a selection of numerous others Young
-poem without forgiveness

Kevin Young
-ode to the midwest
-the mission

Nick Flynn
-cartoon physics, part 1
-my mother contemplating her gun

Patricia Smith
-shoulda been jimi savannah

Anne Carson
-from VI: ideas

Carl Phillips
-in this light, since you ask

October 23rd, 2012

Hello friends,

sorry for the absence, but sometimes a poet has to also be a hermit. I promise to be out and about more often. Let’s play. Give me a call if you like. Here is a quick update on the last few months. Colin and my collection of poems Kate Jury Denton Texas has been doing pretty well publication-wise with poems in Barnstorm, Right Hand Pointing, Hobart, A cappella Zoo, Split Lip, Brusque, and Atticus Review among others. Recently KJDT was named as a finalist (though not the winner) for the Subito Press book prize, which is fantastic but also a little bittersweet. Oh, and I’m listed in the Poets and Writers author directory. Woot.

In other news, Vox Ferus is still the best workshop in town, and Marty McConnell one of the most dynamic individuals I have ever met. She has a new book out (woot woot) called Wine for a Shotgun, and a book release here in Chicago on November 1st. Go to it here. I was also introduced to an incredible monthly reading series in Lincoln Square called the Dollhouse Reading Series. Nice people, great words, and an audience to die for.

Outside of all the writing business, I have to say I miss all of you a great deal…in Australia, Nebraska, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Ithaca, Denton, Seattle, and those of you scattered elsewhere across the country. Hopefully I can find a way to save up a little cash and visit each of you soon, and buy you a drink, and give you a hug, and share a few laughs.

June 24th, 2012

New author photo with Colin Winnette

April 5th, 2012

I’m honored to have been asked to return to Nebraska for a performance alongside three of my former Hastings College professors at this year’s Elinor Bartholomew Fine Arts Festival. Please join me! I would love to see you at the reading and after.

More information:

Poetry reading featuring: Dwight Marsh, Ben Clark, and Darrel Lloyd

with music by Jim Fritzler on the Cathedral organ!

Wine and cheese reception following.

St. Mark’s Pro-Cathedral
422 North Burlington
Hastings, NE 68901
April 28th, 2012
7 p.m.

March 11th, 2012

Hello friends. I’m the featured poet in the fantastic journal Radius right now, with a poem of my own and selected poems  from two wonderful friends and poets: Colin Winnette and Marty McConnell. Check it out if you have some time!

Also, Colin and I will be performing at the Joan Flasch Artist’s Book Collection (5th floor of 37 Wabash) tomorrow from 12-1 p.m. If you happen to be downtown, stop by for some poetry, pizza, and flowers.

January 23rd, 2012

What a fantastic time in Denton. Thanks to Colin, Regine, Courtney, Conor, Sam, Darin, Walker, Zach, and all the rest of you beautiful, beautiful people. I miss you already.

My final semester at SAIC begins this week, and I would be hard-pressed to say that I don’t feel a little sadness at leaving. It has been a fantastic last year and a half, and I owe each of my friends met at school a big, long hug.

This weekend I will be performing at three events, and in honor of my fantastic friends I will be selling my book for the


I hope to see you at one of these great shows:

Pressed for Cash at the Westside School for the Desperate on the 28th at 8 p.m.

Fix Our Shit Fundraiser at Ashley Brand’s House on the 28th at 9:30 p.m.

Vox Ferus Night at the Green Mill on the 29th at 7 p.m

January 10th, 2012

Hello friends,

I leave tomorrow for my second round of touring with Colin Winnette. I am incredibly excited to be traveling through the wonderful state of Texas with this talented fellow. Please check our tour blog or my own tour page for updates.

Also, I’m honored to be performing on January 29th at the legendary Green Mill in the first ever Vox Ferus takeover show with featured performances by Kristiana Colon, Emily Rose, Maya Marshall and Robertha Medina.

I will be competing later in the evening in a 3-person slam tournament with Reggie Eldridge and Abigail Vic. Woot. Only $7!

December 7th, 2011

Hello all,

it has been too long and I apologize for the absence. School has been challenging as you would expect, but I feel really good about the new work I am making, and the numerous friends and writers I have met here. As far as upcoming shows go, Colin Winnette and I will be touring Texas and Arizona in January in support of his fantastic new book Revelation, and I of course will continue to support Reasons to Leave the Slaughter. I will let you know the details very soon, but until then have a wonderful holiday season and keep writing!

September 15th, 2011

Hello friends,

I will be featuring at the wonderful West Side School for the Desperate this Saturday. I would love it if you would join me. Cheap drinks, an incredible open mike, and me!

Here is the information:

3608 W. Wrightwood

Sign-up at 8PM, show at 8:30. 18+ ID at the door.

$5 suggested donation, reasonable drinks. Please do not B your own B and support your favorite DIY arts space!

ps–Thanks again to all of the performers and artists who contributed to the book release. It was a really magical night that I could not have imagined happening in a better way. I am really blessed to know all of you, and am deeply humbled by the depth, honesty, and skill that you put into everything that happened on that stage. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And thanks to those of you who came out to support the release of my book and the Chicago arts. I owe each of you many hugs.

August 31st, 2011

August 28th, 2011

School at the Art Institute essentially begins in a few days, and I have ants in my pants to return. I miss all of my friends. I miss writing and work-shopping. I miss my super-duper cheap U-Pass.

And to top all of this off, on September 9th at 7 p.m. I am lucky enough to be celebrating my official book release at the Art Institute’s ballroom. Instead of reading from my own text I have invited a variety of my favorite writers and artists to “cover” one of my poems however they like, along with opportunity to perform original work of their own. Along with the performances we will have tables set up with books/chapbooks for purchase and information on a variety of Chicago literary organizations. We will have food. We will have drinks. It is going to be beautiful madness, and I hope to see you there. Oh, and here is a tentative list of performers and artists:

Colin Winnette

Roger Bonair-Agard and J.W. Basilo

Nate Olison and Kevin Kern

Marty McConnell

John Rich

Emily Rose

Laura Yes Yes

Sherry Antonini

Janet Desaulniers

Erin Obradovich

Kate Jury

Jen Gerken

Lesley Dixon

Matt Mongelia

Patrick Welsch

Ted Lowitz

Debra Kayes

Shannon Bourne

Gwynne Johnson

Joshua Cotter

Todd Brown

Kristin Nason

What an amazing, blessed life I am living right now.

August 21st, 2011

Hello all. If I haven’t seen you in the last few weeks I am back in Chicago. It is good to be home, though the tour was wonderful, and taught me only to believe more and more in the kindness and generosity of my friends, family, and the many new artists and writers that we met on the road. I have Nick Flynn’s newest and Terrence Hayes’ first book of poetry sitting close by as I write this. Apple Juice cats around in the other room. I am listening to Luke Temple’s newest album, and have two fans pointed in my direction. Since Colin and I’ve been back we have performed at Ipsento Coffee with Adam Jameson, and featured at a packed Mental Graffiti. On Thursday we leave for New York (my first time) and Boston (also my first) with a reading scheduled at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art on the 27th.

You can find out more about this show here.

ps-If you didn’t get a chance to follow along with our tour while it was happening, check out Colin and I’s tour blog.

pps-I have been obsessing over my friend Rebecca Elliott’s work lately. Check her out here and of course here.

July 17th, 2011

Well. We are here everyone. Colin and I will be leaving Monday the 18th for Indianapolis, and then on to the rest of the Midwest. Thanks again to all of you who came out to the Lillstreet Art Center for our going-away show. I feel absolutely blessed to have all of you in my life. Check out our fancy new tour blog for updates from the road.

July 5th, 2011

The TARANTULAS IN THE HAYSTACK TOUR kicks off in TEN days. Eep! Check the tour page for shows in your city, and for those of you in Chicago, please join us for the kick-off show on the roof of the Lillstreet Art Center. It is going to be a blast!

May 20th, 2011

Friends, the book is here! Thank you for your support over the last year. I love all of you very much. Check out my store for another view of the cover. You can now buy copies of the book at Write Bloody. Please do. Tell your friends. Tell your local library, your local book store. Tell your mom. Your mom would love my book. Of course if you happen to be in Chicago right now, contact me and I will hand-deliver a copy of the book to you. Really. I will drive to your home, and deliver the book along with one free hug.

In other news, the fantastic Colin Winnette and I will be touring the mid-west from late-July into early-August. We are still in the process of putting together our dates, but I promise I will let you know when any shows are finalized.

April 30th, 2011


the book has been sent to the printers. I should be receiving tour copies in the next few weeks. Thank you for all of your endless kindness and support. In thanks, here are two new author photos with requisite beard sway:

Oh yes…and the cover of my book.


April 4th, 2011

Hello all. Just a brief update and invitation for all of you. Reasons To Leave The Slaughter, my upcoming book from Write Bloody Press, has been sent to the copy editor, and will then be sent to the wonderful Debra Kayes for layout business, and then to the printers. So close.

One a side note, I was chosen as one of the representatives of SAIC in a joint reading with UIC this Friday. You should stop by. Pretty words. Pretty faces.


Date:  Friday, April 8, 2011

Time:  Refreshments served at 6:30pm & Reading begins at 7:00pm

Institute for the Humanities (MC 206), 701 South Morgan, Lower Level, Stevenson Hall, Chicago, IL

James Tadd Adcox (UIC), Maggie Anderson (UIC), Ben Clark (SAIC), Rebecca Elliott (SAIC), Austin Gilmour (UIC), Brenna Kischuk (SAIC), Virginia Konchan (UIC), Tyler Miles (UIC), Patty Petelin (SAIC), Roxanne Pilat (UIC), Jordan Scrivner (SAIC), Colin Winnette (SAIC)

March 8th, 2011

The cover for my book, Reasons To Leave The Slaughter, has been finalized. Woot. I am extremely happy with the image ( a photo by Todd Brown), with the design work and layout (all done by Debra Kayes), and the final choice made by Captain Derrick Brown of Write Bloody Press. I feel blessed and honored to be working with all of these fantastic people. I cannot start showing off this cover quite yet, but please check out Todd’s wonderful photography and the endless beautiful covers already in the Write Bloody store, and then imagine the two together singing songs and drinking Sunshine Wheat until last call.

Along with the cover being chosen, I can say that all edits have been completed (except for D.B.), the poems have been placed into an order, and my spatial issues (“five” contrapuntal poems) solved with a bit of elbow grease and the proper font choice. We are close people! Close!

February 14th, 2011

I am very lucky to have the fantastic Joshua Cotter illustrating my upcoming collection of poetry on Write Bloody Press. For a sneak peak head over to his website, and look at the bottom of the page here: Josh Cotter Illustrations. The last nine images (and two more on their way) will be in the book. Also, of course, buy one of his fantastic books here: Josh Cotter Store.

January 18th, 2011

I am fortunate enough to open for the fantastic Jalan Crossland’s Band at the Listening Room this Friday. I will be reading poems from my upcoming book that will be published this year by Write Bloody Press. I will very likely also have chapbooks and felt beards/mustaches to sell if you so desire. This is my first show as a “touring” poet. Please join me.

Friday, January 21 · 7:30pm – 10:00pm
(Doors open at 6:30)

The Listening Room (in the Knights of Pythias Club)
106 N. Denver
Hastings, NE

Purchase tickets online here with credit card:

or at the door with cash money.

January 3rd, 2011

Rather than babbling on about some sort of resolution I may or may not follow through on in the upcoming months, I would like to instead begin the year by thanking some of those individuals who have made this last year so special to me:

My family. Debra and Apple Juice. Tom, Whitney, and Jen. Gwynne and William. Shannon and Jeremy. Todd and Cody. Joelle and Michelle. Brian, Jordan, Dr. Wood, Marnie, Kate, Martha, Dan, Jeff and Faith, Rachel, Ted, Lee, Joko, Michael S., Erin O., Erin K. and Dan, Jill, Alexis, Rebecca and Nick, Tona, Patty, Patty, Storm, Derrick B., Nika, Tim, Sarah Q M., Stevie, Kurt, Kim, Kerry, Roger, John, Baz, Amy, Molly, Marty, Tristan, Laura, Eboni, Emily, Stacy, Robbie, Greg, Michael M., Sherry A., Calvin F., Sara L., Amber D., Mary C., Ruth M. Everyone at Fleet Feet. Everyone in my Oblique Angles, Literary Animal, and Singular Voice classes. Anyone who has taken the time to give his/her opinion of my work. Everyone who has made me laugh. Everyone who has introduced themselves. Everyone who continues to consider themselves my friend even when I give them much less than they deserve. All of you friends I forgot while making this list, who will still be my friend when I see you next. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


ps–If you are in Hastings, Nebraska on the 21st of this month I will be the opening act at the Listening Room. Go here for more details: . I will be selling little chapbooks and felt beards and mustaches. Woot.

October 26th, 2010

Man oh man…it has been too long. I apologize to those of you who happen to to browse these pages on a regular schedule. School has been fantastic: loads of super-talented people just wandering around…waiting to blow my mind with any number of creations, a dynamic faculty completely devoted to helping us students along, and numerous off-campus perks (like access to the back rooms at the field museum! What!) to keep me busy. The manuscript is moving along nicely, and is getting attention from a wonderful combination of friends and faculty. I hope to begin serious work with my illustrator next week ironing out the details as far as what I am looking for, and what he is interested in drawing. I have my first feature coming up in November, a show in January back in Nebraska opening for a band at the Listening Room, and will start booking shows at that point for my summer tours. Gulp. I am excited/nervous/honored to even have this as a possibility for my life. Touring the country. Who would have thought? Thanks again to all of you who have put up with me over the last few months, and thanks to all of you who continue to support me as an artist, and as a friend. I love all of you very much.

August 30th, 2010

Orientation is tomorrow at SAIC, the Encyclopedia Show (The Periodic Table) is on Wednesday, and my first class is on Friday. I am going to be one busy bearded bee this week!

August 8th, 2010

Things to be excited about right now if your name is Ben:

1. This fantastic new website (thanks DK)
2. August 2011 publication date for my first full-length book of poetry on Write Bloody Press
3. MFA classes beginning at the Art Institute in September
4. All of the fantastic, beautiful people I have met here in Chicago
5. All of the fantastic, beautiful people elsewhere with couches, floors, beds, that I will stay with while touring next summer (pretty please…)
6. A well-made mix cd
7. Apple Juice (the cat, not the drink)
8. Manuscript editing at the Real Talk Table.
9. Authors who have crushed me this summer: Haruki Muraki, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ander Monson, Ross Gay, Roger Bonair-Agard, John Paul Davis, Li-Young Lee, Nick Flynn, Nate Powell, Sarah Q. Morgan