Berfrois

July 2015

‘There is no palpable New York in the sense in which there is a Paris, a Vienna, a Milan’

‘There is no palpable New York in the sense in which there is a Paris, a Vienna, a Milan’

No American, not a commercial or otherwise hardened traveler, can have a soul so dead as to be incapable of emotion when, on his return from a long trip abroad, he catches sight of the low-lying and insignificant Long Island coast.

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Buddhist Philosophy as Philosophy

Buddhist Philosophy as Philosophy

Amber Carpenter’s Indian Buddhist Philosophy presents its reader with an engaging account of the philosophical development of Buddhist thought in India, from its origins in approximately the fifth century BCE to about the eighth century CE.

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D. Joyce-Ahearne on Federico García Lorca

D. Joyce-Ahearne on Federico García Lorca

If duende, the source of inspiration that Lorca sets out to champion in his essay at the expense of the Muse, is “in sum, the spirit of the earth”, a force linking body and soil through a struggle akin to death, then the Muse is a force that speaks...

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Facebook’ll Deadname Ya

Facebook’ll Deadname Ya

Last week my phone company made me cry. Waiting excitedly for a new phone, I received an email from EE. “We just need a bit more information from you”, they said. “Call us”.

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Through Art and Buried Memory

Through Art and Buried Memory

From American Poetry Review: Lately, the word extinction floats around in my interior conversations, spurred most obviously by environmental destruction, endless and senseless wars, and of course my own awareness of personal mortality. In the trips I’ve made over the last five years to see the Ice Age painted caves...

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Meowzart

Meowzart

The absurdity of a cat piano has no doubt contributed to its appeal across the centuries. But the license granted in the space of the imaginary points to illicit aspects of the real.

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K. Thomas Kahn fills his pen

K. Thomas Kahn fills his pen

I am always getting lost, but there are countless parables about this already that make me hesitate to add my own version of events, my own alternate history.

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The letters of Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg chart a 40-year friendship…

The letters of Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg chart a 40-year friendship…

The story now feels nearly inevitable. In 1955, Allen Ginsberg moved into an apartment in the San Francisco North Beach area, just a few blocks away from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Pocket Bookshop.

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English/Beatnik

English/Beatnik

Irving Howe’s criticism is consistently compelling. He is truly a brilliant critic and his writing is pedagogical in a deep sense. Howe writes like a Magid tells a story.

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Oh, Sheila

Oh, Sheila

Near the beginning of Sheila Heti’s 2012 novel, How Should a Person Be?, the narrator—coyly, “Sheila”—recalls a jilted ex-lover’s composition of “an outline for a play about life—how it would unfold, decade by decade.”

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Them’s the Rules

Them’s the Rules

The Internet is surely a remarkable thing. Still, if a fifties sci-fi fan were to appear in the present and ask what the most dramatic technological achievement of the intervening sixty years had been, it’s hard to imagine the reaction would have been anything but bitter disappointment.

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‘This book would never be published’

‘This book would never be published’

Was I really willing to write a book that wouldn’t be seen (let alone read) by anyone I knew, or anyone who might want to hire me in the future?

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Free Art From Oil

Free Art From Oil

Museums and galleries weren’t always the grand institutions we experience today. Formerly private collections, visible only to the ruling classes, were projected into the lower echelons of society in grand acts of philanthropy.

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Drained Pools

Drained Pools

In Frank Perry and Sydney Pollack’s Connecticut-set film The Swimmer (1968), based on John Cheever’s 1964 short story of the same name, Ned Merrill, a middle-aged man, decides to “swim home”.

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Heritage

Heritage

It had been nine days since the young white supremacist Dylann Roof had massacred nine black churchgoers in Charleston, and Coates, whose great theme is the intractability of racial history, had helped to orient the debate.

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Aalooran Rahman Bora Meets Jessica Sequeira

Aalooran Rahman Bora Meets Jessica Sequeira

Those few lovely hours – of talking books, selecting books, buying books – consisted our brief encounter.

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Russell Bennetts: Coffee, My House, Be There

Russell Bennetts: Coffee, My House, Be There

When I was three I’d toddled into our kitchen and spied my older sister lifting a steaming cup of chocolate-colored brew to her lips and I’d begged – begged – for a taste. It was likely something 1960s and horrible, like Folgers with some powdered creamer.

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The absence of crystals seemed to bewilder some of the more serious fans of the series…

The absence of crystals seemed to bewilder some of the more serious fans of the series…

Even back in 1994, the Final Fantasy series was settling into the sort of routine for which it later became well known – and was often scorned for.

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Chinese Communism

Chinese Communism

An article in the newsletter of the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection claims that since it is a 'founding ideological principle that Communist Party members cannot be religious', party members don't enjoy the right to religious freedom

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Jeremy Fernando: Not

A response — Bartleby’s response — foregrounding the fact that it is the “I” that “prefers not to”: not that ‘I cannot’ nor ‘I...

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Owen Vince on HARK

As a poet, you are your grandmother; you are browsing the obituaries with a red pen and an address book in your hand. The...

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Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

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Collective Destruction by Keith Doubt

What, then, is sociocide? Sociocide resonates with the term demodernization formulated by A. V. Tishkov to account for the consequences of the war in...

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Heather Lang on Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

Poet Fiona Sampson is a former career violinist, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, overt references to music appear in her work.

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Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Exuberance Strikes

In May, in the garden of the elevated house at the bottom of the hill, four shrubs of stunning azaleas come into full blossom....

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Joe Linker
Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping....

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Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Luc Moullet

To begin at the end: After nearly two hours exploring facets of exploitation in the globalized food system, Luc Moullet closes Genèse d’un repas/Origins...

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Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Now it seems the state’s radical conservatives are degrading the historic, populist-provincial mentality of Iowa; they are revising the state’s legacy within the broader...

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Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

A few years ago all I had was a certain ambition and an understanding, more or less, of how things work in this world....

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Sebastian Normandin
Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

The persistence and proliferation of pseudoscientific thinking in contemporary culture demands explanation. Clearly there are some pragmatic reasons for its expanded existence, and people...

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Janice Lee For the Ghost

The memories are like stutters. Sometimes I inhale for air, and exhale a shaking chain of memories. A choking hazard. I for the ghost....

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Edi Rama’s Bunker Mentality by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

As many former Eastern Block countries in the EU display a hardly dissimulated form of racism and religious hatred, Albania, always a little behind...

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Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

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