Berfrois

March 2018

Pound’s Ill Politics

Pound’s Ill Politics

In December 1945, Ezra Pound was committed to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, DC. He was then 60 years old, internationally famous, and under indictment for treason against the United States.

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Extracted

Extracted

On a research trip to the Kamituga gold mine in her home province of South Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), activist Marie-Rose Shakalili noticed something that’s often minimised in stories about mining in her country...

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Who Bathe Inside the Moons

Who Bathe Inside the Moons

In essays and interviews, Lorca made clear that his allegiance was not to Spain, or even to Granada, but to the Vega, the rich plain to the west of the city where his father farmed, the land nourished by the rivers Darro and Genil that flow down from the...

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Keith Doubt on School Shooters

Keith Doubt on School Shooters

What then does it mean that school shooters are mostly young white boys? Subconsciously and consciously for some, school shooters exemplify white privilege.

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Icy Fossil Poetry

Icy Fossil Poetry

Language bends and buckles under pressure of climate change. Take the adjective ‘glacial’. I recently came across an old draft of my PhD dissertation on which my advisor had scrawled the rebuke: ‘You’re proceeding at a glacial pace. You’re skating on thin ice.’

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They Wanted to Overcome Late Capitalism

They Wanted to Overcome Late Capitalism

February 1968. Radical leftists from all over the world are in West Berlin to attend the International Vietnam Congress.

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Logics of Repetition by Will Gottsegen

Logics of Repetition by Will Gottsegen

The distinction between the “logic of the once-and-for-all” and the “logic of Einmal ist keinmal” points to the larger, definitional distinction between the tragic and comic genres.

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Effectively Extract

Effectively Extract

Surveillance capitalism – with smartphones, laptops, and the increasing numbers of ‘internet of things’ devices making up its physical infrastructure, watching and tracking everything we do...

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Orbán and Soros

Orbán and Soros

I recently returned from a three-month stay in Budapest, where I was a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study of the Central European University—a splendid graduate school of social sciences and philosophy founded by George Soros...

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Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Plastic

Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Plastic

On the shores of Midway Island, the juvenile albatross skeletons encircle a stomach’s worth of plastic shards, pen caps, bottle tops, the insidious end to all species’ endocrine systems innocuously named “nurdles.”

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Believing Takes Practice

Believing Takes Practice

As a kid, you are tossed incessantly against your own limitations. So much about the world is unfathomable; your job is to dispel some of the dimness, with help from adults and firsthand experience.

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‘The story is another’

‘The story is another’

In Santiago there’s a stereotype I’ve heard many times, that while most Argentines are ‘big readers’, Chileans ‘don’t read’...

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Lindsay Turner on Aki Kaurismäki

Lindsay Turner on Aki Kaurismäki

Deadpan, unhurried, and sensitive, Aki Kaurismäki’s 2017 film The Other Side of Hope tells the story of a young Syrian immigrant, Khaled.

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Geoffrey Hilsabeck: The Tragicomedy of Try Never

Geoffrey Hilsabeck: The Tragicomedy of Try Never

A student who later dropped my poetry class wrote to me at the beginning of spring semester: “I want to understand everything I’m familiar with and unfamiliar with. I believe a deeper understanding of poetry is where I should start.”

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Fantastic Voyages by Eric D. Lehman

Fantastic Voyages by Eric D. Lehman

A few years ago one of my rare bookworm students asked me for a list of suggestions for “adventure” reading. But when I gave it to her, she seemed disappointed...

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Bharat Azad: Sculpture in Mexico

Bharat Azad: Sculpture in Mexico

"Mexico is a surrealist country", my host tells me in the living room of his Centro Historico apartment as we ponder over his collection of works by Alan Glass. I'm in Mexico City...

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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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