Berfrois

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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‘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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I Battle Unarmed

I Battle Unarmed

Reading Jen Scappettone’s introduction to Rosselli, I was struck that Amelia Rosselli viewed confessionalism as “a great defect of feminine or slightly feminist literature.”

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Is the poem always a record of failure?

Is the poem always a record of failure?

Rimbaud is the enfant terrible who burns through the sayable; Oppen is the poet of the left whose quiet is a sign of commitment.

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They Are Beautiful, Irresolute

They Are Beautiful, Irresolute

The island of Runmarö lies an hour east of Stockholm, ringed by skerries that rise out of the water. To journey there one must catch a ferry that gurgles through the chop at about 20 knots per hour.

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A Year Without Summer

A Year Without Summer

A vampire is a thirsty thing, spreading metaphors like antigens through its victim’s blood. It is a rare situation that is not revealingly defamiliarized by the introduction of a vampiric motif, whether it be migration and industrial change in Dracula, adolescent sexuality inTwilight, or racism in True Blood.

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I, I, I, I

I, I, I, I

The most compelling feature of William Carlos Williams’s poetry, for me, has perhaps always been the complex tango of virility and fragility that fight it out in his deeply autobiographical poetry.

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Art is long, but life is short…

Art is long, but life is short…

Image by RubyGoes From Slate: All poetry critics are on the hunt for neon-lined, essential truths about their subjects—but James has an uncanny instinct for where to look. It’s precision not just of vocabulary—of intuiting the right words to describe a tone or style—but of thought. James has mastered...

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‘What is the use’

‘What is the use’

Not everything Gertrude Stein wrote is worth calling poetry. Stein says so herself in “Poetry and Grammar,” because “for me the problem of poetry was and it began with Tender Buttons to constantly realize the thing anything so that I could recreate that thing.”

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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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Jeremy Fernando: Pink

Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

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