Berfrois

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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What Rhythm Holds

What Rhythm Holds

In thinking of the innovative lyric, it seems useful to look at archaic lyric, since it too was experimental in its day - maybe even wildly so.

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Byron had wanted to keep Shelley’s skull…

Byron had wanted to keep Shelley’s skull…

Francis Gastrell was very annoyed. He had bought a nice new house only to find hordes of uninvited guests tramping through his garden and helping themselves to sprigs and branches from his mulberry tree.

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A Piano of Bourbon

A Piano of Bourbon

"Don’t go down the rabbit hole,” my husband tells me, but it’s too late. It is 3 A.M. and I am still at my desk, the lamp burning hot on my notebook.

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Joe Linker on Li Po

Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping.

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F=A=M=E

F=A=M=E

I once felt quite famous as a poet. Indeed, now that I think of it, 
I have felt famous twice. These two periods of really unsettling fame came back to me recently as I dealt with a young poet at the lending desk of the public library where I’ve...

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When the Russians Came

When the Russians Came

It can’t have been easy for Takolander to write the words “just a tourist really,” but she did it. Using a Finnish word, suo, immediately after this admission is an understandable coping mechanism, a reassertion of expertise that tells the English-speaking reader.

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Kevin Higgins’ 21 Poem Corbyn Salute

Kevin Higgins’ 21 Poem Corbyn Salute

As Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign exploded throughout an otherwise decidedly damp July, it became clear that I had left two factors out of my back of the envelope political calculations.

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Daniel Bosch on Yang Mu

Daniel Bosch on Yang Mu

Yang Mu’s verse autobiographical prose, like his verse, relies on close observation of Taiwan’s landscape, flora, and fauna for imagery and metaphor. Yet if the humidity, the light, the tang in the breeze—the embodied experiences of the young Yang Mu—are distinctly Taiwanese, his themes are broadly human.

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‘It is the head of human poetry’

‘It is the head of human poetry’

In the used bookstores of Boston in the late 1980s, the Renaissance section always had multiple cheap copies of two books: E.M.W. Tillyard’s The Elizabethan World Picture and Walter Pater’s The Renaissance.

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What are we able to know about superstar college dropouts?

What are we able to know about superstar college dropouts?

A glance at celebrity websites and magazines serves to confirm that it is possible to make a living by taking photos of very famous people doing very ordinary things: walking dogs, pumping gas, dropping children off at daycare.

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Through Art and Buried Memory

Through Art and Buried Memory

From American Poetry Review: Lately, the word extinction floats around in my interior conversations, spurred most obviously by environmental destruction, endless and senseless wars, and of course my own awareness of personal mortality. In the trips I’ve made over the last five years to see the Ice Age painted caves...

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The letters of Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg chart a 40-year friendship…

The letters of Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg chart a 40-year friendship…

The story now feels nearly inevitable. In 1955, Allen Ginsberg moved into an apartment in the San Francisco North Beach area, just a few blocks away from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Pocket Bookshop.

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