Berfrois

February 2018

Privileging Your Checks

Privileging Your Checks

I am team-teaching a course on the later Wittgenstein this semester with a somewhat skeptical but radically open-minded philosopher.

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Are ‘you’ just inside your skin or is your smartphone part of you?

Are ‘you’ just inside your skin or is your smartphone part of you?

Your phone ‘knows’ whom you speak to, when you speak to them, what you said, where you have been, your purchases, photos, biometric data, even your notes to yourself – and all this dating back years...

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Salt to Sprinkle on the Meat

Salt to Sprinkle on the Meat

The presence of the political in Ashbery is not negligible, and those who would say so are not reading his work very carefully...

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It’s Your Letters

It’s Your Letters

I started writing in isolation. For me, it was the natural result of reading too much: those extra words bred in the pools between my ears, multiplying and evolving, and finally spilled out of me in a tidal rush.

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As Vast as Space and as Timeless as Infinity

As Vast as Space and as Timeless as Infinity

The planet has been knocked off its elliptical orbit and overheats as it hurtles toward the sun; the night ceases to exist, oil paintings melt, the sidewalks in New York are hot enough to fry an egg on...

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You’re Interested in New Zealand

You’re Interested in New Zealand

If you’re interested in the end of the world, you’re interested in New Zealand. If you’re interested in how our current cultural anxieties...

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They Didn’t Know Any Women

They Didn’t Know Any Women

Beware the callow misfit who becomes part of the ruling class; rather than disrupt the social order that excluded him, he might just reap its spoils for himself.

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Drinking at the Ladbroke Arms

Drinking at the Ladbroke Arms

The Ladbroke Arms, Notting Hill. Photograph by Ewan Munro. From London Review of Books: The Ladbroke Arms is a pub in Notting Hill known for years as the policemen’s pub. The explanation is obvious: over the road is the local police station. Two decades ago, if you went for a drink...

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Russell Bennetts and Legacy Russell, Glitch Feminism

Russell Bennetts and Legacy Russell, Glitch Feminism

Glitch Feminism is about modes of experimentation beginning online before entering the world. The house of gender needs to be dismantled...

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Joe Linker: Read Surfing

Joe Linker: Read Surfing

What is it about the predicament of digital writing and reading that has so many literary provocateurs abuzz? “Mies van der Rohe said, ‘The least is the most.’..

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Getting Lost in Narrative Virtuality by Will Luers

Getting Lost in Narrative Virtuality by Will Luers

“Getting lost” in a work of fiction is a conventional expression that speaks to the immersive power of narrative...

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Everybody Draw the Dinosaur

Everybody Draw the Dinosaur

What colour was a Tyrannosaurus rex? How did an Archaeopteryx court a mate? And how do you paint the visual likeness of something no human eye...

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Colin Raff: Slivers, Torpid

Colin Raff: Slivers, Torpid

Here the story shifts focus to Grunduline, who, having sung an air describing her flight from the convent, arrives in Vadtstul to find her groom-to-be embracing her mother...

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It is a Melancholy Conversation that hath no sound…

It is a Melancholy Conversation that hath no sound…

It is said, That Silence a great virtue: It is true, in a Sick person’s chamber, that loves no noise; or at the dead time of night; or at lunchtimes that natural rest

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One generation’s subversion is the next generation’s marketing plan…

One generation’s subversion is the next generation’s marketing plan…

In an essay on The Face published in Dick Hebdige’s 1988 book, “Hiding in the Light: On Images and Things,” which Gorman quotes...

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Jay Aquinas Thompson: Re-Reading Jose Perez Beduya

Jay Aquinas Thompson: Re-Reading Jose Perez Beduya

The five-year-old poetry book can be a lonely thing. After a hoped-for hothouse blossoming of critical conversation dies down and the book is no longer taught...

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Candidates

Candidates

In accessible and engaging prose, historian Ellen Fitzpatrick chronicles the political careers of three women who attempted to ascend to the American presidency.

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Some Degree of Voting

Some Degree of Voting

On 21 June 1908, half a million people gathered in Hyde Park to celebrate “Women’s Sunday”. There were 30 brass bands, bugles and 20 platforms...

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‘Tea began our mornings and punctuated long afternoons’

‘Tea began our mornings and punctuated long afternoons’

At the studio, along with a box of tea bags and a bag of powdered milk, the cheaply made kettle assumed its place on my vast stone counter.

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Ed Simon: When Books Read You

Ed Simon: When Books Read You

Towards the end of 1642, or possibly the beginning of 1643, but either way in the midst of a miserable winter of civil war, King Charles I found himself...

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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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