The Men Can’t Be Saved with Ben Purkert

Ben Purkert's journey to writing his first novel, The Men Can't Be Saved, began with people questioning his love of poetry—as a man.
The Men Can’t Be Saved with Ben Purkert
Published August 8, 2023

“What do our jobs do to our souls?” That is the big question asked in the debut novel of Ben Purkert called The Men Can’t Be Saved. Following a junior copywriter in New York City whose latest tagline went viral, the novel is a witty, comedic exploration of what it means to be a man in a modern context, unpacking both overt and subtle expressions of toxic masculinity and examining themes like work, religion, sex, drugs, and our selves, in between. In this conversation, Ben and Dave discuss…

  • Why it was so difficult to make the switch from poetry writing to long-form fiction storytelling
  • Ben’s relationship to his identity as a man and masculinity, especially as a long-time poet
  • The author’s aspirations for his first novel—and why HBO’s Succession is his gold standard for dramatic comedy
Ben Purkert is a poet and novelist whose writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Slate, and beyond. He is the founder of Back Draft, a Guernica interview series focused on revision and the creative process. He holds degrees from Harvard and NYU and currently teaches creative writing at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Please rate and review our show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify to help other listeners find our work! Want to get in touch? Leave us a voicemail! Support our partners and affiliates for exclusive discounts:
  • Fathom Analytics: Get beautiful, secure website data without trading your customers’ private browsing data to Google and Facebook
  • Flywheel: Seamless WordPress website hosting on US-based servers
  • Hover: Register domains with ease. Save $2 on your first purchase
  • MailerLite: A powerful, affordable email marketing platform with premium plans starting at just $9/mo.
  • Sanebox: Take back your inbox with machine learning to automatically organize your emails. Save $5 when you join.
  • Trint: Turn recordings of meetings, calls, and interviews into transcripts with 99% accuracy.
Affiliate Disclosure: Our show is listener supported through affiliate and partner links. By clicking one of the above links and registering or making a purchase, we may earn a small commission, which helps pay for the costs of our show.

MOST recent episodes

Listen everywhere

Scroll below to listen to this episode of The New Story Is, or stream episodes wherever you get your podcasts.



When you buy from Bookshop.org, an Amazon competitor, you support our authors and a donation is made to local, independent bookstores in your area! Buying from our affiliate store also supports our show’s production costs.