Berfrois

‘We all hate the poetry we learnt in school. Why?’

‘We all hate the poetry we learnt in school. Why?’

That the object of education should be to fit the child for life is such a trite and well-worn saying that people smile at its commonplaceness even while they agree with its obvious common sense.

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Up Morden Tower

Up Morden Tower

While on the Wapping picket line opposing Murdoch, I was inspired by the best piece of street poetry that I’ve ever heard, when an old cockney printer shouted at a scab ‘you’re so low you could walk under a snake, wearing a top ‘at’.

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The erasure of Islam from Rumi’s poetry started long ago…

The erasure of Islam from Rumi’s poetry started long ago…

Rumi was born in the early thirteenth century, in what is now Afghanistan. He later settled in Konya, in present-day Turkey, with his family. His father was a preacher and religious scholar, and he introduced Rumi to Sufism.

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John Canaday: Unriddling

John Canaday: Unriddling

Jeredith Merrin’s Owling, winner of the 2016 Grayson Chapbook contest, consists of 19 poems, each named after one of 18 species of owls from around the world.

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It was the voice of Fancy; it was the face of Poetry…

It was the voice of Fancy; it was the face of Poetry…

As we passed along between Wem and Shrewsbury, and I eyed their blue tops seen through the wintry branches, or the red rustling leaves of the sturdy oak-trees by the road-side, a sound was in my ears as of a Siren's song; I was stunned

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Without the Comfort of Solitude

Without the Comfort of Solitude

At college, dormitory suites had single and double bedrooms. For three years, I lived in one bedroom crowded with everything I owned. During my senior year, I managed to secure a single suite: bedroom and sitting room and bath.

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Democracy Is Coming

Democracy Is Coming

Cohen admitted in television interviews that he feared a rise of extremism, a growing feeling of dangerous hospitability to “the extremist position” which ends in his song’s decree “I’ve seen the future, brother: / It is murder.”

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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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Joe Linker: All the World’s a Bill-bard

Joe Linker: All the World’s a Bill-bard

The Captain-elect of a new Ship of Fools, his vassals jockeying for position aboard the whirling vessel, packing for the move, appears to be offering a revision of Snyder’s argument – to wit: The free world is simply a racket.

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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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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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