Berfrois

The Famous Black Poet

The Famous Black Poet

It was only as a teenager that I thought to ask my parents why they hadn’t been activists, why they’d never joined any protests and fought for the cause.

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Poetry Prize II

Poetry Prize II

Berfrois is delighted to announce that the Berfrois Poetry Prize is back.

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Scherezade Siobhan on Maged Zaher

Scherezade Siobhan on Maged Zaher

The Anatomy of the Bones, J. Barclay, 1829 by Scherezade Siobhan The Consequences of My Body, by Maged Zaher, Nightboat Books, 160 pp. When I begin to think of a (any) body and its liminal (autocorrect wants to reaffirm it as “luminal”) itineraries in a world that aches to slap a...

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Greg Bem on Samuel Ligon

Greg Bem on Samuel Ligon

The writing brings you in close, allows you to relearn the concept of gasping, guffawing, choking on one’s tongue. It’s almost as real as you could imagine it, happening around the corner, down the street.

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Ben Fama Interviews Precious Okoyomon

Ben Fama Interviews Precious Okoyomon

Precious Okoyomon’s writing is like local honey I see being sold at the rest stops in upstate NY: raw and sweet, with positive health benefits if you consume regularly.

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Remembering Max Ritvo

Remembering Max Ritvo

Two years later, on our first wedding anniversary, we exchanged poems. He died three weeks later. I had written him a poem about trying to make him permanent, and not being able to.

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My Sex App

My Sex App

Mayer is “just like / A person with a device” because she doesn’t have one—not a smartphone, not a computer. At seventy-one years old, she writes on a blue Smith-Corona typewriter, tapping at the keys with a single finger.

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Alcoholic admissions punctuate Elizabeth Bishop’s narrative…

Alcoholic admissions punctuate Elizabeth Bishop’s narrative…

Bishop’s letters to her psychiatrist are newsy and notational. One begins with a friend surprising her “with a birthday cak and some mimosa” and concludes with a hairstyling appointment before dinner with Randall Jarrell.

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Kissing the Pebbles

Kissing the Pebbles

If Basil Bunting were not remembered for “Briggflatts”—his longest and best poem, first published fifty years ago—he might still be remembered as the protagonist of a preposterously eventful twentieth-century life.

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Daniel Bosch: Brogue, Seriously?

Daniel Bosch: Brogue, Seriously?

On April 6, 1327, in Avignon, in the Kingdom of Arles, an Italian scholar named Petrarch saw and fell for a young girl named Laura.

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Adrienne Rich had run-ins with literary men throughout her life…

Adrienne Rich had run-ins with literary men throughout her life…

“One rainy day in the spring of 1960, the San Francisco poet Robert Duncan arrived at my door,” Adrienne Rich wrote in her essay “A Communal Poetry.”

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Nothing, Nothing but Hell

Nothing, Nothing but Hell

The death of champion boxer Muhammad Ali is an occasion to remember one of the strangest moments in popular culture, when Ali collaborated with legendary poet Marianne Moore on a work of verse.

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Klyfez Cleven

Klyfez Cleven

The medieval poem “Pearl” was written by someone whose identity we do not know, and is set mostly within a dream.

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Greg Bem on Mathias Svalina

Greg Bem on Mathias Svalina

The fifth book by American poet Mathias Svalina, The Wine-Dark Sea, confronts this image of strange beauty in its own complex way, and as an object representing a body of poems.

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