Berfrois

Hip-hop is an ecosystem…

Hip-hop is an ecosystem…

I was born in 1989 at the end of hip-hop’s infancy. By the time I dropped into being, hip-hop had a Grammy and platinum records.

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Remembering St. Geraud

Remembering St. Geraud

From The New Yorker: When word came again, last week, that Knott had died, no one knew quite whether to believe it. Death makes deniers of us all, but in Knott’s case we had good reason to trust our instinctive disbelief. This time, unfortunately, the facts were unrelenting: on...

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Bishop to Lowell

Bishop to Lowell

Elizabeth Bishop’s most impactful letter of the summer of 1947 was the first substantive one she ever wrote to Robert Lowell. Written from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia on August 14, that first real letter of the poets’ storied epistolary friendship begins with a parenthetical aside that nods to their...

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The Sun Shone

The Sun Shone

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, c.1558 From VQR: If my love for poetry could be said to have begun in childhood wonder, in the afternoons spent with my father, in the excitement of early school days, my need for poetry, my faith in it,...

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Clayton Eshleman: North American Poetry Today

Clayton Eshleman: North American Poetry Today

While living in Kyoto, I would ride my motorcycle downtown in the afternoon and work on my translations of César Vallejo’s Poemas humanos in the Yorunomado (“Night Window”) coffee shop. I had determined that a publishable version of this 1989 poem collection would constitute my apprenticeship to poetry. As...

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Rumpled Sheet

Rumpled Sheet

Sisyphus, Anna Chromy, 2003 From The American Poetry Review: We cannot escape metaphor: there are “metaphors we live by,” according to George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Philosophically minded modern writers from Jacques Derrida to William Gass have tried to make sure that we know how thoroughly metaphor saturates even...

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Someone (a lot) like Don Share

Someone (a lot) like Don Share

Huh. Well, I collect weird dictionaries, including dictionaries of cliches (which come in handy, in my line of work). But my favorite strange dictionary is the great classic Dictionary of Similes, edited by Frank Wilstach and published in 1916; it has the epigraph, "It's hard to find a simile...

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Balked No Weird

Balked No Weird

Around the same time English-language philosophers were debating whether or not you can know what it is like to be a bat (generally deciding that you can not), the Australian poet Les Murray was busy directly transcribing the thought-world of an imagined representative of this order.

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A Thing More Divine

A Thing More Divine

In English writing we seldom speak of tradition, though we occasionally apply its name in deploring its absence. We cannot refer to “the tradition” or to “a tradition”; at most, we employ the adjective in saying that the poetry of So-and-so is “traditional” or even “too traditional.”

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Rauan Klassnik’s Poetry Bash

Rauan Klassnik’s Poetry Bash

by Rauan Klassnik People want poems about titties. Want poems that parody the Kill List (or the Fuck List). Want stalker hate poetry. Poems about dogs pissing on other dogs. Mosquitos fucking people in the ear. Hi, I’m Rauan Klassnik and I curate and illustrate the occasional Poem-A-Day for...

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‘While she sees life as poetry’

‘While she sees life as poetry’

Though Aldous Huxley is primarily remembered for his novels and to a lesser extent his essays, he began his writing career as a poet. While a student at Balliol College at Oxford, having been exempted from military service due to extremely poor eyesight, he was involved in several student...

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Gertrude Stein’s texts always stress infinite forward motion…

Gertrude Stein’s texts always stress infinite forward motion…

Gertrude Stein by Samuel Vriezen Fail again. Fail better. Fail again. Better again. Or better worse. Fail worse again. Fail better worse now.” By the writer who most famously explored the theme of failure, Samuel Beckett, this sequence is one of the most famous instances, from his...

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Ron Rosenbaum on Auden, Larkin and Love

Ron Rosenbaum on Auden, Larkin and Love

I was prompted to revisit these ancient questions anew by a long footnote about a single line in the new Complete Poems edition of Philip Larkin’s poetry. The footnote refers to “An Arundel Tomb”—widely regarded as one of Larkin’s finest poems—and contains a provocative remark about that the poem’s...

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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

The peculiar circumstances surrounding the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel constitute a case study in how even the biggest literary news stories are,...

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McKenzie Wark
Information in Chains

“Information wants to be free, but is everywhere in chains.” The development of the forces of production took a qualitatively different turn when information...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie: Organic Fortune

isis - ebola - obama hit by halal truck (where is duchamp?)

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Bharat Azad
Bharat Azad Meets Adair Turner

In a quiet office tucked away in Mayfair – over a long table so white I am hesitant to even place my fingers on...

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Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

The deeper one looks in To the Lighthouse the more one sees. The more one listens the more one hears. Homer, Shakespeare, Conrad and...

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Claudia Landolfi: Europe’s Colonial Perversion

The aftermath of a violent act or after a sharp change of political horizons is also a crisis of imagination and language. The rupture...

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Jerry Moore: Feverish Rivers

I learned that Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff had been a Nazi when I was in a Santa Marta supermarket. I had just stepped into the Exito...

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Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant flies

Most of the writing we do is actually a performance of stuckness. It is a record of where we got stuck on a question...

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Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to...

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Michael Munro on Spinoza

Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is...

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David Beer
David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home,...

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Rose Barnsley: Young, Gifted and Žižekian

At nineteen, it is easy to think that all you're missing is the right movement. But there is something about the young left wing...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Rama’s And

While local journalists were once again busy regurgitating worn-down, coma inducing positions about yet another spectral appearance of Enver Hoxha at the celebration of...

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Playing the Percentages: Berfrois Interviews Danny Dorling

The portrait of the 1% in your book is one of sociopathic, power-hungry narcissists with a striking lack of empathy. This may seem antagonistic,...

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