Berfrois

Amy Glynn: Ruin Graced

Amy Glynn: Ruin Graced

I suppose the early stage of a journey down a pharmacological rabbit hole is as good a time as any to take in the baked, surreal ruin of Hadrian’s Villa. Crumbling, desiccated, plundered, immense and ancient, the place rambled on for what seemed like miles.

Read More

Song of Whitman

Song of Whitman

Walt Whitman, Camden, New Jersey, 1891. Photograph by Samuel Murray by Justin E. H. Smith I am able to read Walt Whitman only in small doses, for fear of being overpowered by a sort of rapturous assent, tears in my eyes, unable to comprehend how it is even possible...

Read More

To Love a Wall?

To Love a Wall?

Robert Frost’s second book, North of Boston (1914), has almost universally been considered the defining moment of his literary maturation. First published in England when the poet was forty years old, it reflected twenty hard and lonely years of quiet artistic development.

Read More

Fingio

Fingio

Critics have long held that, even if Cervantes was at least somewhat aware that his work would be successful, this was only because he knew it was funny, and hoped that, in reading it, as he famously wrote in his first preface to Don Quixote, "the melancholy would be...

Read More

Everything you need to know about love can be found in a canoe…

Everything you need to know about love can be found in a canoe…

From Ascent: Maybe the reason Michael recites poetry whenever we are in the natural world, rather than, say, when doing the dishes or taking out the trash, is to attempt to narrate, to hold within the bounds of language, a kind of beauty, joy, fear that we will never...

Read More

‘Superstition is the poetry of life’

‘Superstition is the poetry of life’

Black Cat, Onchi Kochiro, 1952  by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‏ Superstition is the poetry of life; both build an imaginary world, and between the things of the actual, palpable world they anticipate the most marvelous connections. Sympathy and antipathy govern everywhere. Poetry is ever freeing itself from such fetters as...

Read More

A Monk Surfing

A Monk Surfing

What is prayer? When I was a kid, I learned the Catholic prayers, and believed Sister Mary Annette, who liked to quote Shakespeare, when she said, “Words without thought never to heaven go.” King Claudius is trying to pray, looks like he is praying, to Hamlet, anyway, and so...

Read More

‘Feeling something at white heat’

‘Feeling something at white heat’

Amy Lowell, from the cover of TIME Magazine, March 2, 1925 by Amy Lowell Why should one read poetry? That seems to me a good deal like asking: Why should one eat? One eats because one has to, to support life, but every time one sits down to dinner...

Read More

Smiling Moon

Smiling Moon

Le voyage dans la lune, en plein dans l’oeil!!, Georges Méliès, 1902 From Poetry: Schnackenberg’s best poems play form against theme, to the point of subverting form altogether. They are virtuoso creations that mock their own virtuosity, exposing the hollowness beneath the dazzle. They remind us that even in...

Read More

Maryann Corbett on Alan Sullivan

Maryann Corbett on Alan Sullivan

It was jarring to realize it, but there it was: I nearly wished evil on someone. Alan Sullivan’s cancer was starting to close in on him, and I should have been sobered. But what I felt was startlingly close to Schadenfreude. Admittedly, I was lurking on the outskirts of...

Read More

How will it be with those dreams which take such dear reality upon themselves?

How will it be with those dreams which take such dear reality upon themselves?

Bust of James Clarence Mangan by Oliver Sheppard in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin by James Joyce ‘Memorial I would have… a constant presence with those that love me.’ It is many a day since the dispute of the classical and romantic schools began in the quiet city of the...

Read More

One Sun

One Sun

In Gawker's, wry estimation, most of the U.S. simply didn't "get" Richard Blanco's inaugural poem "One Today." In the Washington Post's absurd trollgazing account, Blanco's poem merely signals the "death of poetry." Perhaps this is because the Post imagines the polity as something more like a giant Nielsen Family...

Read More

Daniel Bosch on Frederick Seidel

Daniel Bosch on Frederick Seidel

I mean that the poem, and it’s like a lot of Seidel’s work, dresses his poetry in all the accoutrements of deliberate engagement with issues of class and color and need and responsibility, of inequity and iniquity, and all that equipment ought to be used. The speaker shows no...

Read More

Where Most of the Beats Had Stayed

Where Most of the Beats Had Stayed

Allen Ginsberg outside Shakespeare and Company, Paris by Jenny Diski A great sadness in my young life was to have missed Paris in the Fifties: those existentialists sitting morosely in the Deux Magots (did Beckett really pour a glass of beer over his head without showing any sign of...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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,...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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,...

Read More
Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

Read More
Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The...

Read More
Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone...

Read More
Jenny Diski keeps up

Some things are best met with silence. If I were to proceed with this month’s column in an honest way, it would be a...

Read More
From Fashion by Tracy O’Neill

The man who brought us a disembodied protagonist alluringly voiced by Scarlett Johansson has now issued a drama — starring apparel. Recently, Opening Ceremony...

Read More
Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

Read More
An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous...

Read More