Berfrois

April 2018

Colin Raff: Torpid Slivers #11-14

Colin Raff: Torpid Slivers #11-14

Upon reaching the foot of a rocky cliff, a travelling hare saw that a goat was readying to climb up its face, and said to him: “O goat, I see how your long horns, that curve and point forwards

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Poets’ Houses: Ruskin, Larkin, The Group

Poets’ Houses: Ruskin, Larkin, The Group

This building in Warwick, now a venue for wedding ceremonies, has the distinction of being the only place where Larkin had to drudge. In 1942, his second year at Oxford, the ground floor was the Fuel Office, and he took a summer job there which he hated.

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Olguita Bay by Jessica Sequeira

Olguita Bay by Jessica Sequeira

The Olguita Marina drink on the menu had a beautiful name, and beauty makes me curious. I didn’t order it since I was informed that in addition to rum it contained three fruit liquors, of which two were strawberry and passionfruit.

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A Late Capitalist Lyric

A Late Capitalist Lyric

The term ‘postmodernism’ may no longer seem to tell us much about the present.

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Simon Calder: Contemplating AWP

Simon Calder: Contemplating AWP

As one in a sea of some twelve-thousand writers, able to attend perhaps fifteen of five-hundred-plus panels, presentations, readings and receptions, the Berfrois correspondent was highly aware of the need to acknowledge his smallness...

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DND

DND

Everyone had died – not that you’d know it, from how they were laughing about their poor choices and bad rolls of the dice. As a social anthropologist, I study how people understand artificial intelligence...

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Hammered

Hammered

West Ham fans tend to think that what happens at their club says something about the state of English football. It’s an illusion born of a summer afternoon 52 years ago...

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Our Shared Epistemology

Our Shared Epistemology

Like a lot of black girls coming of age in the final years of the 20th century, I had an adolescent fascination with Prince.

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Modi’s many critics see India’s grand old party as the only force capable of stopping the BJP juggernaut…

Modi’s many critics see India’s grand old party as the only force capable of stopping the BJP juggernaut…

Hawa, a Hindi word for wind or air, carries a subtler meaning in Indian politics. A politician’s hawa is the tailwind that propels him to victory; it is the superior momentum that comes with being on a roll.

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The Body As a Vehicle Traversing Circumstance by Janice Lee

The Body As a Vehicle Traversing Circumstance by Janice Lee

This morning I am thinking about how intimacy often manifests itself through absence. That is, I learned more about the similarities I shared with my mother after she died...

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Poets’ Houses: Sitwell, Moore, Gray

Poets’ Houses: Sitwell, Moore, Gray

When it comes to interior shots of Edith Sitwell houses, this blog certainly spoils its readers. This is the room in which she was born in 1887, currently the offices of the lively Scarborough-based Valley Press.

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Colin Raff: Torpid Slivers #6-10

Colin Raff: Torpid Slivers #6-10

A child must say to her playmate, “I love you as I would a timber marmot, because your house is sturdy and filled with hallways. I love you as I would a polar razorback, because your bristly coat matches the driven snow.

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For a soi-disant parable-writer, Muriel Spark is surprisingly social in her comedy…

For a soi-disant parable-writer, Muriel Spark is surprisingly social in her comedy…

Spark’s novels – 22 in all – are the product of a ruthlessly confident, even clairvoyant sensibility, and fuse an impossible range of tones and strengths.

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*Ages*

*Ages*

Ten years ago, Barbara Ehrenreich read an article in Scientific American that shook her to the core. Its argument was that the body’s immune system, far from protecting us, can enable the growth and spread of tumours...

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Night Was the Worst

Night Was the Worst

That violación. Not enough pages in the world to describe what it did to me. The whole planet could be my inkstand and it still wouldn’t be enough.

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The Regime of National Repression

The Regime of National Repression

Orbán has named his reign the Regime of National Cooperation. This expression well defines the expectations towards anyone who wishes to survive in this environment: either you collaborate or you are declared an enemy of the state.

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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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