Berfrois

Whenever you hear that whistle…

Whenever you hear that whistle…

I write in my rental apartment on Rue de Seine in Paris, while trying to simultaneously ignore the tolling of the church bells in my vicinity as well as the continuous barking of my next door neighbor, Georges. I have never seen him or his owners; however, given the permanent scolding I hear, he must do things well behaved dogs should only do outside.

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Street Haunting in Winter

Street Haunting in Winter

No one perhaps has ever felt passionately towards a lead pencil. But there are circumstances in which it can become supremely desirable to possess one; moments when we are set upon having an object, an excuse for walking half across London between tea and dinner.

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Karl Whitney: Roomy

Karl Whitney: Roomy

Why do we invest writers' rooms with any significance whatsoever? They’re big or small, bright or dank, smell bad or smell good: they’re rooms like any others.

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Poetical Investigations

Poetical Investigations

From Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth, Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou, 2009 From Poetry: I came to poetry fairly late; that is, I was probably a senior in college before I could read it with anything like enthusiasm. This was a direct result of studying Wittgenstein with James...

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On the Flying Time

On the Flying Time

Presentism—the notion that everything that exists is only what can and does exist right now—is countered in metaphysics by eternalism: the idea that time is not a process but a dimension, and in that dimension all reference points have equal validity, and thus all time, past, present, and future,...

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2014 Poetry Prize

2014 Poetry Prize

Between midnight on November 30, 2014 and 11:59:59 pm GMT on Sunday December 31, 2014, poets may submit to Berfrois, using its online submission manager, a single, original, poem in English which is not a translation, but may be in any mode or form, up to 300 lines.

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In Three Days

In Three Days

It was a deliberately outlandish thing to do, setting up a booth at the largest, noisiest book expo in the world and inviting a small group of writers to sit there, talk, type, and edit a series of answers to the question “what is the future of publishing?”

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We want the suffering and scandal in books to be real, but not so real….

We want the suffering and scandal in books to be real, but not so real….

There are few things to do in Anacostia, Maryland, besides visit the home of Frederick Douglass. It’s an estate called Cedar Hill, a large, white, red-gabled colonial with the type of rocking chair-laden porch that begs you to sit down with an iced tea and a bowl of strawberries.

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says it, as I remember, while loafing around Gertrude Stein’s weekly picture exhibition at the rue de Fleurus, studying the foreigners who have come to pay...

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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can become extremely aware of their circumstances or get lost in a delusional microcosm they created for themselves.

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Daniel Bosch: 99 + 1

Daniel Bosch: 99 + 1

The last gasps of the American revolutionary spirit were choked out in the Civil War, when the most conservative form of liberal government ever invented unhinged its jaws and swallowed its antithetical self, the South, whole — only to have to regurgitate some of its bones, of course, every...

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Driving With Virginia Woolf

Driving With Virginia Woolf

Bayeux Tapestry Horses in Battle of Hastings by Virginia Woolf Evening is kind to Sussex, for Sussex is no longer young, and she is grateful for the veil of evening as an elderly woman is glad when a shade is drawn over a lamp, and only the outline of...

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Ezequiel Alemian on Boris Pasternak

Ezequiel Alemian on Boris Pasternak

During a visit to Buenos Aires a few years ago, the saxophonist Ornette Coleman, an old trailblazer of free jazz, went out to explore the area near the hotel where he was staying his first night in the city, and got lost.

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Bleeding Edgers

Bleeding Edgers

by Hanjo Berressem In “…without shame of concern for etymology,” Hanjo Berressem discusses Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge in the context post-9/11 fiction. In contrast to narratives of posttraumatic melancholy, Berressem argues that Bleeding Edge is a “Jeremiad about the fall and the sins of America.” The result is an essay...

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Campbell’s School

Campbell’s School

A little less than a year back, I wrote about Edgar Guest, the longtime poet of the Detroit Free Press who published a poem in that paper seven days a week for thirty years. The national syndication of his verse made Guest a household name, got him dubbed the...

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

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Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

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Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

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Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

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John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

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Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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