Berfrois

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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Miniature, Scythes

Miniature, Scythes

To read the poems of Rita Dove, to go where they take you, is to follow her deeply into a series of themes and their subsets: African-Americans in history and right now, ideas of indenture and independence, sex, travel, language.

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Timothy Duffy on Ocean Vuong

Timothy Duffy on Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong’s Whiting Award-winning collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds is indeed an event, a collection that stays with the reader and insists upon its own importance without a shred of entitlement.

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Outside of sex, the New Yorker is not too stylistically risky…

Outside of sex, the New Yorker is not too stylistically risky…

I’ve sent poems to the New Yorker for about 30-40 years. Through three different editors. Not every day or every year but it would strike me every now and then that it was something I ought to do.

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Ed Simon: NPM

Ed Simon: NPM

National Poetry Month recently ended in that cruelest of months. Critics may take aim at the kitschification of poetry which once supposedly existed at the heights of Parnassian influence.

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Greg Bem on Don Mee Choi

Greg Bem on Don Mee Choi

It is difficult to talk about war. And yet many humans do. But how we do it and for how long is another question. Especially with relationships to information today, and relationships to time, I am thinking of fragments.

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Prose With a Poet’s Head

Prose With a Poet’s Head

Lines and sentences: even now, nonfiction—including nonfiction by poets—is approached by readers, and sometimes by writers, chiefly as information, argument, or anecdote.

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