Berfrois

November 2017

In November, we hear death’s footsteps..

In November, we hear death’s footsteps..

We have a little bit more time. It’s one of the last days of the month, and the clouds have come and so the rain will come and then the snow will come.

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Ecstasy and Turmoil

Ecstasy and Turmoil

Boris Pasternak is best known for writing Doctor Zhivago, a novel which documents these years of national upheaval through the eyes of a poet...

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Putting Bodies at the Heart of Resistance

Putting Bodies at the Heart of Resistance

‘We make art with our cunt,’ wrote ’90s cyberfeminists, VNS Matrix. ‘Gender abolitionism’ (Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation, 2015) has marked a shift in rhetoric, and Cornelia Sollfrank was the only 2017 delegate I remember to use the c-word

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‘Both of my parents had used drugs — opioids — since my childhood’

‘Both of my parents had used drugs — opioids — since my childhood’

I sat on a wrought iron daybed facing an open window, and a warm breeze was pooling in. It was the first day in my second foster home...

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The Shape of an Egg by Amy Glynn

The Shape of an Egg by Amy Glynn

Our first Christmas together, I was 39 weeks pregnant. He let me drag a seven-foot fir tree up the stairs to the flat and sat on the couch with a beer...

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Virginia Woolf on Dorothy Osborne

Virginia Woolf on Dorothy Osborne

Our early literature owes something of its magnificence to the fact that writing was an uncommon art, practised, rather for fame than for money...

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The Chinese-Filipino Experience

The Chinese-Filipino Experience

I do not know what my first language is. It’s definitely not English, of that at least I’m sure. Sometimes I think it’s the Southern Min language, spoken in the southern province of Fujian in China.

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‘The illegal course of the independence movement cost Catalonia its biggest loss of autonomy in decades’

‘The illegal course of the independence movement cost Catalonia its biggest loss of autonomy in decades’

Opponents of independence pointed out the discomfort they feel when they express their views. I am sure that many people who favour secession think that a society where people are afraid to express democratic opinions...

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Thinking About Monsters

Thinking About Monsters

Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, William Burroughs, Richard Wagner, Sid Vicious, V. S. Naipaul, John Galliano, Norman Mailer, Ezra Pound, Caravaggio, Floyd Mayweather, though if we start listing athletes we’ll never stop.

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Trash. Waste. Junk.

Trash. Waste. Junk.

Yeah, I mean, it made a kind of sense. Iron Chef: Showdown is leftovers of leftovers of leftovers, and I say that as a fan of Iron Nerd Alton Brown.

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A wandering, restless existence…

A wandering, restless existence…

To work in academe is to live at an angle slightly askew to the regular run of American life.

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Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein remains perhaps the world’s greatest work of fan art…

Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein remains perhaps the world’s greatest work of fan art…

No cars are permitted to drive the path that winds up the mountain. In fair weather, as now in late April, buses and horse-drawn carriages...

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Instagramm’d Nevertheless

Instagramm’d Nevertheless

While touring England’s Lake District, poet Thomas Gray suffered what we might call a selfie-induced injury.

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Everything Glowed With a Gleam

Everything Glowed With a Gleam

In Hardy’s “The Self-Unseeing,” he visits the remains of his childhood home and recalls where the door was, how the floor felt, how his mother sat...

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Joe Linker on Jessica Sequeira

Joe Linker on Jessica Sequeira

by Joe Linker Rhombus and Oval, by Jessica Sequeira, What Books Press, 117 pp. “Rhombus and Oval” is the title of the lead piece in this collection of stories by Jessica Sequeira, a translator of Spanish and French, and a writer. The text of twenty-one stories runs 112 pages, each...

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James Miller: Towards a Deranged Realism

James Miller: Towards a Deranged Realism

Before the confusion sets in, I’m going to try to make some statements, set out a few positions that will also be provocations and, inevitably, generalisations.

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‘There hasn’t been a generational divide this pronounced since the 1960s.’

‘There hasn’t been a generational divide this pronounced since the 1960s.’

On a recent visit to my parents, my mother asked me whether I want to have kids. Being 30 and single, an uncle to a niece and a nephew...

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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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