Berfrois

Scott Manley Hadley on Jon Fosse

Scott Manley Hadley on Jon Fosse

Of all the nations of Europe with a rich literary tradition, Norway is a country that seems–whether by accident or design–to export exclusively exquisite fiction...

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Don’t Cry

Don’t Cry

It’s early on a Sunday morning in January of 2010. I sit on the edge of the bed, already dressed, with my hand on my partner’s foot as he sleeps. The night before, I couldn’t catch my breath, and I told myself that if I felt the same in...

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A Year in Windom

A Year in Windom

In the 1963–’64 Windom High School yearbook, there is an entire page dedicated to my Palestinian father. During his one year as an exchange student in Windom, Minnesota, he played on the tennis team...

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‘To rumble and rattle up and down their gorges in a sleeping-car!’

‘To rumble and rattle up and down their gorges in a sleeping-car!’

It may seem curious to begin with Dante and pass on to the Children’s Rabbits’ House; but I require both to explain what it is I mean by Limbo...

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Gran’s Chicken

Gran’s Chicken

The star shape cuts into the circular handle that tops the lid of my candy dish. The star is echoed as it expands into the many cut diamonds which multiply as they eclipse over the round shape of the lid.

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Daniel Fraser on Alejandro Zambra

Daniel Fraser on Alejandro Zambra

This collection of Alejandro Zambra’s essays and articles on literature (translated by Megan McDowell) arrived unexpectedly one cold morning in March.

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Origami Dragons by Jessica Ciccarelli

Origami Dragons by Jessica Ciccarelli

Ten years before my brother may or may not have tried to hang himself, he was an eight-year-old boy with a penchant for dragons, brave warriors, and courageous exploration.

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Writing in Buenos Aires by Romina Paula

Writing in Buenos Aires by Romina Paula

It’s extremely uncommon here in Argentina that a writer can make a living as such, all the more so in my generation. Or I guess I should say that it would be rare for a writer to live off the books he or she publishes, because writers do sometimes...

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Poets’ Houses: Hofmann, Forrest-Thomson

Poets’ Houses: Hofmann, Forrest-Thomson

Michael Hofmann is one of the great poets of squalid student digs, and ‘Between Bed and Wastepaper Basket’ is one of his great poems.

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Books That Confirm the Act of Being

Books That Confirm the Act of Being

At the Aligre flea market near my Parisian flat, I haggle over a trinket I’ve decided to give to my on-the-rocks lover. It is a rock, a small but well-shined one.

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Impresario, Performer, Curator, Martyr, Insubordinate, Editor

Impresario, Performer, Curator, Martyr, Insubordinate, Editor

Eliot was very much a singular editor, both as the sole individual formally responsible for all aspects of editorship and also as the only individual to hold that role through the entire publication run of his journal.

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Tipsy Tullivan’s Top Tips

Tipsy Tullivan’s Top Tips

I like this notion of “getting through” writing. Mostly I think about “getting away” with it. I am terribly bored whenever someone asks me to write something that has, indeed, existed before, such as a Disability 101 thinkpiece that explains x, y, or z to the presumed nondisabled readers.

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Poets’ Houses: Tonks, Longville, Mew

Poets’ Houses: Tonks, Longville, Mew

My mother almost certainly misdelivered Rosemary Tonks’ newspaper when she was eight...

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Consolation

Consolation

The other day, depressed on the Underground, I tried to cheer myself by thinking over the joys of our human lot. But there wasn't one of them for which I seemed to care a button—not Wine, nor Friendship...

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Poets’ Houses: Elizabeth Bishop, Edgell Rickwood, Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Poets’ Houses: Elizabeth Bishop, Edgell Rickwood, Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Lots of poets drank at the Fitzroy. It was a haunt of Dylan Thomas and William Empson and Nina Hammett and Malcolm Lowry; it gets a mention in Briggflatts...

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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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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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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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